One of the most common health conditions encountered in today’s world is Diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk for countless serious health issues. However, the good news is that this problem can be treated by providing healthy lifestyle changes; most of the people suffering from diabetes are capable of preventing and delaying the beginning of the complications due to diabetes.
Diabetes: An Overview
Diabetes is a disorder that is characterized by increased blood glucose or hyperglycemia. The body works best at a specific blood sugar levels in the bloodstreams. In case the amount of blood sugar increases, the metabolism process gets hampered and the problem of diabetes comes up. The level of blood sugar in the bloodstreams should be maintained in its optimal levels and neither low or high as both could cause problems.
It is the most usual endocrine disorder. Diabetes is divided into 2 main types that are Type-1 diabetes and Type-2 diabetes. There is another type of diabetes called Gestational Diabetes, which happens only when a woman is pregnant. Although not all women will have gestational diabetes, it purely depends on some risk factors like a family history, or a health complication that can lead to it.
Irrespective of the type of diabetes, the consequences or ill effects of diabetes on the health is varied. Diabetes that is uncontrolled and neglected can lead to drastic health conditions like cardiovascular diseases, problems in vision, kidney failures to name a few. Let us see how diabetes affects the organs, what could be the consequences of it and how to take care of diabetes and the overall health.
Consequences of Diabetes: What are the Health Problems Caused by Diabetes?
- Consequences or Effects of Diabetes on Blood Vessels and Heart: Blood vessels and heart diseases are common in many people with diabetes whose blood sugar levels are not under control. A person with diabetes is twice as probable to have strokes and heart issues as compared to individuals who do not have the problem. Blood vessel damages might occur as well. and in many cases, it can pave way to amputations. It can lead to heart attack and stroke as well.
- Consequence of Diabetes on Eye: Diabetes can lead to problems like loss of vision, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes can lead to eye condition like:
- Retinopathy: It is the situation in which blood vessel in the retina becomes damaged and this affects the vision. It has different stages and in its early stage, there are generally no signs. Hence a regular eye-checkup along with diabetes check-up helps in detecting any transformations and allows early cure so that future damages can be prevented.
- Macular Oedema: Macula is a part of retina that helps people to see clearly. Swelling in this area might happen due to damaged blood vessels in retina and cause fluids to build-up. It can pave way to the macula being destroyed completely and vision becomes blurry. Though, there is a treatment available for this yet on time detection is very important.
- Glaucoma: In Glaucoma, the fluid pressure within the eyes build-up to a very high level than the normal limit. This pressure usually damages the eye over the period of time. Although it can occur in individuals with or without diabetes, it is yet more usual in diabetes patients.
- Cataract: Cataract is also one situation that is caused by diabetes. The eye lens becomes cloudy and can cause cloudy and sensitive or distorted vision to glare. Individuals with diabetes have cataract early in their lives.
- Consequence of Diabetes on Kidneys: Individuals with diabetes have a great risk of nephropathy or kidney disease because of the changes in the small blood vessel of kidneys. Diseases related to kidneys are painless and doesn’t cause any indication until it has advanced. Screening of the kidney is quite significant as the damages can be diagnosed early by identifying microalbumin in urine. People who have this disease should get a checkup regularly at least once in a year. It’s very important that your doctor monitor the kidney function with blood tests such as estimated-glomerular filtration rates (e-GFR). In case this problem is detected at early stage then it can be prevented or slowed by providing right treatment. There are various medications available for the same that helps in protecting kidneys from any damages.
- Nerve Damage as Consequence of Diabetes: With the time, high blood glucose level may harm the nerve and more than 70% of individuals with diabetes get this condition. Nerve damages can occur in the motor and sensory nerves of the feet, hands, chest, arms, stomach and legs, and also to all other nerves that control the functions of different body organs. Individual who drink high amount of alcohol may also confront such situations. To cure this situation, one must always keep blood sugar level in control and consult the doctor regularly.
- Foot Issues as a Result of Diabetes: A person with diabetes is at an increased risk for feet related issues caused by reduced blood supply to both small and large blood vessels. This can often lead to nerve damages as well as structural abnormalities, such as clawed toes. Decreased supply of blood reduces sensation in the feet, and can result in to ulcers. Individuals with diabetes problem are 10 times more likely to have legs and feet amputated than people without this disease.
- Diabetes Consequences on Skin: Individuals who suffer from diabetes might experience dark skin because of the damages to the nerves and small blood vessels. Skin issues like dry and irritable skin are common for people with diabetes. This may also lead to skin cracks as well as possible infections.
- Diabetes and Gum and Teeth Issues: People who have diabetes usually confront the problem of tooth decay as well as gum infections. It is because of the damages done to small blood vessels supplying blood to teeth and gums. Gum and dental infections also comes up due to increase in blood sugar level. Diabetes usually puts one in danger of high gum diseases. The gums might be swollen, bleed easily and red. Brush your teeth twice a day, keep flossing and visit a dentist regularly to keep a check on the dental health.
- Mental Health and Diabetes: Diabetes is a life-long disease. Living with it and managing it regularly keeping a check on what you do daily and eat can be highly demanding and stressful. It can also lead to anxiety and depression. Interestingly, stress, depression and anxiety can also increase the blood sugar level thus making it a vicious cycle. Hence, it is very important that one keeps a check on the stress levels and also takes care of the mental health when dealing with diabetes. Individuals with diabetes can talk to the healthcare provider regarding this and also consult a counselor for keep the levels of stress under control.
- Consequences or Effects of Diabetes on Immune System: The white blood cells in the blood help in fighting with the germs that intrude into the body and also various infections. However, high blood sugar slows down the white blood cells thus preventing the cells to fight against infection. This can slow down the immune system making one prone to various infections. Hence, one must keep the diabetes under control to prevent infections from occurring along with maintaining basic hand hygiene, getting immunized, getting enough sleep and a regular check-up.
Consequences of the Gestational Diabetes
Woman with gestational diabetes might have higher chances of complications during pregnancy and hence, gestational diabetes needs to be diagnosed, managed, and taken care of properly. It involves controlling and monitoring the level of sugar in the blood during the time of pregnancy. When it’s not managed adequately, or goes unnoticed, it may cause various serious health complications to both the baby and the mother which includes:
- Miscarriage and the pregnancy loss during 23 weeks.
- Premature birth of your baby that can lead to complications like respiratory distress syndrome or newborn jaundice.
- The baby may have health issues shortly after birth, which needs immediate hospital care like low blood glucose level.
- The baby might weight above 4 kgs and need caesarean birth or induced labor or may even lead to issues related to birth difficulties like shoulder dystocia.
- Still birth or the death of the baby due to a very high blood sugar.
How to Take Care of Diabetes to Prevent its Complications?
A person with diabetes must follow the following things to prevent the above mentioned complications:
- Keep the blood sugar levels under control with medication.
- Regular exercising including walking, aerobics and resistance training.
- Lose weight
- Proper healthy diet
- Drinking plenty of water
- Consume Lots of Fiber: Fiber is very good for the body as it increases the metabolism rate and reduces the danger of diabetes to a great extent by keeping the blood sugar levels in control. It also lowers down the risk of any heart disease. Fiber promotes weight loss and helps in keeping the stomach full.
While few people have to do only little things like change in lifestyle, exercising and other small things to keep their sugar level in control to debar the complications or consequences of diabetes; others need medical attention and medications to debar them from getting worse. Treatment of diabetes concentrates on keeping the blood sugar levels under control and slowing-down the consequences of diabetes. This can be done by eating right, avoid smoking, exercising and getting high BP and high cholesterol treated.