Diabetes is one of the most commonly occurring diseases that have plagued many lives across the globe.
Diabetes refers to a condition in which the body is unable to produce the insulin hormone or cannot respond appropriately to the hormone. This results in abnormal carbohydrate metabolism, which leads to drastically higher blood glucose levels. The patient needs to take insulin externally to balance the glucose levels and must make drastic lifestyle changes, especially in terms of diet.
Diabetes does not just impair insulin production and carbohydrate metabolism; it also has an adverse effect on a number of other functions of the body, some of which can further lead to serious implications.
Complications of diabetes
High sugar levels because of diabetes can damage blood vessels that supply blood to various body parts, which in turn leads to damage of the nerves, eyes, kidney, heart, feet, and associated disorders. The narrowing and blocking of blood vessels throughout the body gives rise to peripheral vascular disease.
For those suffering from diabetes, high sugar levels over the years cause damage to the blood vessels that supply oxygen to the nerves, thus providing low levels of oxygen, which impairs the functioning of the nerves and the signaling of pain and other responses. Impaired signaling of nerves is known as diabetic neuropathy. This can even lead to dementia in the long run. Also, diabetes can lead to depression and depression in turn increases the risk of diabetes.
The blood vessels supplying blood to the eyes are small and delicate. With diabetes and an increasing sugar level, these vessels become damaged over time and can eventually lead to problems with the eyes, sometimes even resulting in blindness.
The blood vessels going to the heart are comparatively larger. However, with increased blood sugar levels and a decrease in the supply of sufficient oxygen, fat can start building up in the vessels, leading to heart ailments, such as stroke and heart attack.
Kidneys are vital organs that filter out unwanted toxic wastes while retaining what is required by the body. The blood vessels to the kidney are small and delicate and high sugar levels due to diabetes can make them narrow and clogged. This in turn affects the filtering process, keeping waste inside the body and thereby leading to diabetic kidney disease.
Diabetic neuropathy affects the process of sending approximate pain signals to the feet due to damaged nerves. Additionally, blood circulation to the legs is adversely affected because of diabetes. This leads to sore feet and infections that take longer to heal and in extreme conditions can even result in amputation.
Other functions that are affected due to diabetes and associated neuropathy include:
- Erectile dysfunction and adverse effects on sexual performance
- Skin infections and complications
The cost of medication for diabetes may not be much, but the resulting complications can severely escalate the cost of treatment. These, however, can be prevented by following a diabetic diet, eating healthy, exercising regularly, losing excess weight, and taking medication on time. Additionally, regular eye checkups and examining feet for blisters, swelling, and redness is highly recommended.