Type 2 diabetes: Swelling in four body parts may indicate consistently high blood sugar


“Kidney problems are a particular risk for people with diabetes,” the global diabetes community confirmed. There are five stages of diabetic nephropathy, ranging from the least to most severe kidney disease. By the fourth stage of the disease – nearing the need for dialysis – body parts might swell. For instance, any swelling of the ankles, feet, lower legs or hands is an indication of water retention.

This is one possible symptom of stage four diabetic retinopathy – if this applies to you or anyone you know, medical care is urgent.

Diabetic retinopathy can also lead to darker-looking urine, which is in actual fact caused by the presence of blood.


Another side effect can include shortness of breath when doing simple tasks, such as climbing the stairs.

As more sugar takes up space in the bloodstream, in place of oxygen, it’s expected that you’d feel more tired.

READ MORE: Type 2 diabetes warning: The popular fruit that raises blood sugar levels – ‘take care’


Some people may be required to take medication, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs).

ACE and ARBs have been shown to protect kidney function and can help prevent further damage.

If diabetic nephropathy is only detected in the later stages – when swelling has begun – then you might require dialysis.


Dialysis is a blood-cleansing treatment, which often involves the use of a machine.

“Normally, the kidneys filter the blood, removing harmful waste products and excess fluid,” the NHS explained.

The waste products are then turned into urine to be passed out of the body, but when the kidneys are failing to function, dialysis is needed.


Without dialysis, toxins will continue to accumulate in the body – and that can be fatal.

Dialysis might be required until a donor is found for a kidney transplant.

What happens during dialysis?

“Haemodialysis is the most common type of dialysis,” said the NHS, which is where a tube is attached to a needle in the arm.


Blood then passes along the tube and into an external machine to be filtered; another tube then carries the filtered blood back into the arm.

Dialysis is typically carried out three times weekly, with each session lasting four hours each time.

To help minimise your risk of diabetic nephropathy and the need for dialysis, do keep on top of your blood sugar levels.


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