Effects of diabetes on the body and organs
When a person has diabetes, their blood sugar level increases. Too much blood sugar can lead to many health problems. By managing these levels, you can reduce the risk of excessive blood sugar breakdown throughout the body.
By diagnosing diabetes early and following a treatment plan that includes regular health care, lifestyle changes, and medications, you can limit the effects of diabetes.
This article examines the long-term complications of diabetes and how to deal with them.
Type of diabetes
Glucose or blood sugar is the main source of energy for the human body. It comes from the food people eat. The hormone insulin helps the body’s cells convert glucose into fuel.
In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas and blocks the production of insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body cannot produce insulin or the insulin does not work properly.
Both types of diabetes cause blood sugar levels to be higher than they should be.
Type 2 is more common. It develops over time and is often associated with lack of exercise, unhealthy diet or obesity, but other risk factors may also contribute to its development. Yes, it is more common in children and teenagers, but it can happen at any time of the year.
If a person does not control their condition, both types of diabetes can damage the body.
Circulatory system and heart
High blood sugar levels can damage all parts of the cardiovascular system. For this reason, there is a strong link between diabetes and heart disease.
Too much sugar in the blood reduces the elasticity and contraction of blood vessels, reduces blood flow, reduces blood and oxygen supply, increases the risk of high blood pressure, and damages small blood vessels.
About 74% of adults with diabetes have high blood pressure.
Damage to large vessels is called macrovascular disease, while microvascular disease refers to damage to small blood vessels.
Complications of macrovascular disease include:
- heart attack
- Peripheral arterial disease
Microvascular disease can also lead to the following problems:
- nervous system
People with diabetes can reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and circulatory problems by:
- Blood sugar control
- Quit smoking
- blood pressure and fat control
- Use of statins and other drugs to lower cholesterol
- Blood pressure management
- regular exercise
- eat a diet rich in fiber
For some patients with type 2 diabetes, current guidelines recommend that physicians prescribe sodium glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1 RA) receptor agonists.
These drugs can reduce the risk of high blood sugar and heart disease. It helps to lose weight, lower blood pressure, reduce systemic inflammation and improve heart function.
The guidelines recommend it for people with diabetes and people with atherosclerotic heart disease who are at high risk of heart failure and chronic kidney disease.
These drugs may also reduce the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Doctors may also prescribe them to treat atherosclerosis that is not related to heart failure.
Mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of premature death in people with diabetes.
The CDC added that people with diabetes are two to three times more likely to have a stroke or die from certain heart diseases than people without diabetes.
People with diabetes tend to develop more serious heart problems at a younger age than people without diabetes.
In addition, diabetes often occurs alongside other conditions that stress the heart, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Poor diet and lack of exercise are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Injuries and infections
Poor circulation affects the body’s ability to heal itself in the event of an injury or infection. This is due to lack of blood supply, oxygen and nutrients.
People with diabetes should regularly check their skin for rashes and contact their doctor if there are signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or fever.
About 10-20% of people with early diabetes develop nerve damage. The longer a person with diabetes lives, the greater the risk of developing neuropathy.
More than half of people with diabetes eventually develop the disease.
Neuropathy can affect parts of the nervous system, including those that control autonomic or involuntary functions, such as digestion.
However, the most common type is peripheral neuropathy. The condition causes pain and numbness in the extremities, especially in the legs, feet, fingers, arms, hands and fingers.
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) reports that nearly half of people with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy and more than 30% have autonomic neuropathy.
The loss of sensation associated with neuropathy can make it difficult for people to remember minor injuries. This can lead to serious complications due to poor circulation.
For example, if a person’s feet are not painful, they can become infected and get worse. This helps limit the spread. Tissue necrosis and ulceration may occur, and amputation may be necessary in some cases.
Kidneys and urinary system
The NIDDK identifies diabetes as a major cause of kidney disease. It affects 1 in 3 diabetics.
Diabetic nephropathy is a kidney disease that affects patients with diabetes. Learn more here.
Diabetes can affect a person’s mental health in several ways. They cause:
- Concerns about treatment, health and potential complications can lead to stress, anxiety and depression
- Concerns about the cost of treatment and what works well, especially if symptoms change
- Mental disorders that make it difficult for people to lead healthy lives
- Learning about diabetes can help reduce stress. If more people were aware of their condition, they would feel more in control of their diabetes and treatment.
- Knowing what to do in each situation can boost their confidence and improve them overall.
Working with a medical specialist can help resolve these issues. A doctor or counselor can help you create a plan to reduce your risk of mental health problems.
Diabetes is caused by high blood sugar levels in humans. Over time, high blood sugar levels can affect all parts of the body and cause various complications, some of which can be serious.
In the short term, people with high blood sugar feel thirsty and need to urinate more often. In this case, ask your doctor whether or not you have diabetes.
Untreated diabetes can lead to confusion, possibly unconsciousness, coma and death.