Time and time again you have probably read that diabetes is a dangerous disease and can have severe health effects. You may even have read a list of those complications. However, it is rare that people explain why the complications arise in the first place- apart from just saying it’s high sugar- and how to prevent those complications from arising.
Diabetes is a condition in which there is too much glucose in the blood. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage the body’s organs. Possible long-term effects include damage to large, i.e. macro vascular and small i.e. micro vascular blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, and problems with the kidneys, eyes, gums, feet and nerves. Here is how it all works.
There are two types of dangers that can arise out of Diabetes. The first are long-term dangers or chromic complications while the second may arise at any time without any warning signs called acute complications.
These are long-term issues that can emerge gradually and cause extensive damage if left unregulated and ignored.
Diabetes-related eye complications include:
This occurs when blood vessels in the retina get damaged, resulting in visual loss. There are several phases of retinopathy. Because there are generally no symptoms in the early stages of diabetes, getting a comprehensive diabetic eye exam is vital for detecting it early. Regular eye exams aid in the detection of abnormalities and enable early treatment, if necessary, to prevent additional harm.
The macula is a region of the retina that aids with vision. This region can swell when the blood arteries in the retina are injured, causing fluid to accumulate. This can damage the macula and cause vision to become hazy. There is treatment available but early detection is important.
These occur when the lens of the eye gets clouded, causing vision to become blurry, distorted, or prone to glare. Diabetes can cause cataracts to form at a younger age than normal glaucoma – the pressure of the fluid within the eye gets up to a greater level than is healthy. Over time, this pressure might cause damage to the eye. Glaucoma can develop in persons with and without diabetes, however, it is more prevalent among diabetics.
While most persons with eye injury have no symptoms in the early stages, some symptoms may arise and require immediate attention. See one of our diabetes experts with a specialization in eye care right away if you get flashes of light, floaters, blots, and spots, or if part of your vision is gone.
With diabetes, foot issues are dangerous and, if left untreated, can lead to amputation. Nerve damage can impair feeling in your feet, and high blood sugar levels can impair circulation, causing sores and wounds to heal more slowly. When the blood flow in both major and tiny blood vessels is diminished, the feet of a diabetic are in danger of harm. Nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy is common, and foot structural issues, such as clawed toes, can also develop.
Reduced blood flow and nerve function can cause recovery to be delayed, raise the risk of infection, decrease sensation in the feet, and lead to ulcers and structural foot issues.
When you have diabetes, having high blood sugar levels over an extended length of time might damage your blood vessels. Diabetes increases your chances of having high blood pressure, putting additional strain on your heart.
High blood glucose levels can lead to the production of fatty deposits in the walls of blood vessels. It can hinder blood flow and raise the risk of atherosclerosis, or blood vessel hardening, over time.
Diabetes doubles your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Healthy eating habits and regular exercise, in addition to monitoring and maintaining your blood glucose levels, can help minimize your risk of high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
If you smoke and are at risk of diabetes, you should think about stopping. Smoking raises your chances of developing cardiovascular issues and restricts your blood flow. This can result in heart attacks and strokes.
Diabetes can develop kidney damage over time, making it more difficult to eliminate excess fluid and waste from your body. Excessive blood sugar levels and high blood pressure are to blame. Diabetic nephropathy, often known as kidney disease, is the medical term for this condition.
Some diabetics may experience nerve damage as a result of problems from high blood sugar levels. This can make it more difficult for nerves to transport signals between the brain and every region of our body, affecting how we see, hear, move or feel.
Nerve injury (neuropathy) is generally induced by high blood glucose levels, although it can also be caused by:
Vitamin B12 deficiency – long-term use of the diabetic medicine Metformin (over three to five years) might raise the risk of vitamin B12 insufficiency. This may be tested for by your doctor.
Sensory (feeling) and motor (movement) nerves in the legs and feet, arms, hands, chest, and stomach, as well as nerves that govern the movements of bodily organs, can be damaged.
Too much sugar in your blood might cause an increase in sugar in your saliva. This introduces bacteria, which creates acid, which affects tooth enamel and harms gums. The blood vessels in your gums can also be compromised, increasing the likelihood of gum infection.
Diabetes increases your chance of acquiring some malignancies. Furthermore, certain cancer therapies might have an impact on your diabetes and make it more difficult to maintain your blood sugar.
Diabetes can cause dehydrated skin owing to damage to the tiny blood vessels and nerves. Diabetes patients frequently experience very dry skin on their feet.
There are other skin disorders associated with diabetes. High blood glucose levels might have an effect on skin health over time. Because the skin serves as a barrier to protect our bodies from infection, it is critical to keep it as healthy as possible. When the skin becomes dry, it can break and become infected.
In women, damage to blood vessels and nerves can reduce the quantity of blood travelling to your genital organs, causing some sensation to be lost. Diabetic women are also more prone to urinary tract infections.
Meanwhile, it also leads to male sexual dysfunction. The quantity of blood travelling to male sexual organs may be reduced, making it difficult to become aroused. It can cause erectile dysfunction, often known as impotence.
Your immune system aids in the prevention and treatment of infection. High blood glucose levels limit the activity of white blood cells, which aid in the fight against infection. The immune system’s ability to function is hampered as a result.
Thyroid illness is more common in people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. This encompasses both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Thyroid issues can have a negative impact on overall health and blood glucose levels.
A blood test is used to evaluate thyroid function. Check with your doctor to discover whether your thyroid function has been examined.
Living with and controlling diabetes, whether Type 1 or Type 2, can cause stress, worry, and melancholy. This can have an impact on your blood glucose levels as well as how you manage your diabetes in general. This might have an effect on your health over time.
If you are experiencing stress, sadness, or anxiety, it is critical that you consult with your doctor.
These can occur at any time and can result in chronic or long-term consequences.
While developing a better lifestyle is ideal, it is often necessary to go with surgery for better and long-lasting results. Almost all people who have diabetes surgery– also known as metabolic surgery for diabetes or bariatric surgery- see an improvement in their diabetes, often as soon as a few days following surgery. They have lower blood sugar levels, use fewer diabetic medicines, and have fewer diabetes-related health concerns. Overall, 78% of patients achieve remission, removing the need for diabetic medicines.
Diabetes surgery today has significantly developed over the last 70 years and is one of the finest researched therapies in contemporary medicine. The procedures undergone in metabolic surgery for diabetes result in reduced food consumption which means fewer calories consumed. Most crucially, diabetes surgeries alter metabolism, affecting intestinal hormones that govern blood sugar management, frequently before the patient loses any weight.
Furthermore, metabolic surgery for diabetes reduces appetite, boosts the feeling of fullness after meals, and helps the body attain a healthy weight. Diabetes surgery is not only the most effective treatment for diabetes, but it also significantly improves obesity and other related problems.
Radiance Hospitals will be there for you to the very end. You will be given a food and exercise plan, and your doctor will walk you through each stage. This is your fight, but we can help you plan your approach. You will never be standing alone with us.
We wish you the best of luck on your adventure to a healthier future!