Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Article # 79. How Does Diabetes Affect The Body?
How Does Diabetes Affect The Body?
Knowing how diabetes affects your body can help you look after your body and prevent diabetic complications from developing.
Many of effects of diabetes stem from the same guilty parties, namely high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and a lack of blood glucose control.
Signs of diabetes
When undiagnosed or uncontrolled, the effects of diabetes on the body can be noticed by the classic symptoms of diabetes, namely:
· Increased thirst
· Frequent need to urinate
· Blurred vision and
· Tingling or pain in the hands, feet and/or legs.
Long term effects of diabetes on the body
In addition to the symptoms, diabetes can cause long term damage to our body.
The long term damage is commonly referred to as diabetic complications.
Diabetes affects our blood vessels and nerves and therefore can affect any part of the body.
However, certain parts of our body are affected more than other parts.
Diabetic complications will usually take a number of years of poorly controlled diabetes to develop. Complications are not a certainty and can be kept at bay and prevented by maintaining a strong level of control on your diabetes, your blood pressure and cholesterol.
These can all be helped by keeping to a healthy diet, avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, and incorporating regular activity into your daily regime in order to keep blood sugar levels within recommended blood glucose level guidelines.
The effect of diabetes on the heart
Diabetes and coronary heart disease are closely related.
Diabetes contributes to high blood pressure and is linked with high cholesterol which significantly increases the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes and strokes
Similar to how diabetes affects the heart, high blood pressure and cholesterol raises the risk of strokes.
How diabetes affects the eyes
A relatively common complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. As with all complications, this condition is brought on by a number of years of poorly controlled or uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy has a number of symptoms.
Retinopathy is caused by blood vessels in the back of the eye (the retina) swelling and leaking. High blood pressure is also a contributing factor for diabetic retinopathy.
Diabetic retinopathy can be treated so it’s best to catch it as early as you can. The best way to do this is to attend a retinopathy screening appointment, provided free on the NHS, once each year.
Diabetes and Your Nerves
Over time, high blood sugar levels can harm the nerves. This can lead to loss of sensation or feeling (usually starting in the toes) or pain and burning of the feet. Approximately 60-70% of people with diabetes have some form of nerve damage.
Diabetes-related nerve damage can also cause pain in the legs, arms, and hands, and can cause problems with digestion,
Diabetes and Your Teeth
People with diabetes are at high risk for gum disease. Keeping your diabetes under control, seeing your dentist regularly, and taking good daily care of your teeth can prevent gum disease and tooth loss.
The Cause of Diabetes Complications
Diabetes complications are caused by damage to the blood vessels, nerves, or both.
Symptoms of Diabetes Complications
Symptoms vary depending on the diabetes complication that you have. You may have:
· No symptoms if you have heart disease or atherosclerosis of a large blood vessel, unless you have a heart attack or stoke. Disease of the large blood vessels in your legs may cause problems with blood circulation, leading to leg cramps, changes in skin color, and decreased sensation.
· Vision problems, vision loss, or pain in your eye if you have diabetic eye disease
· No symptoms if you have early diabetes-related kidney disease. Swelling of the legs and feet occur in more advanced stages of kidney failure.
· Tingling, numbness, burning, or shooting or stabbing pain in the feet, hands, or other parts of your body, if the nerves are affected by diabetes (peripheral diabetic neuropathy). If the nerves that control internal organs are damaged (autonomic neuropathy), you may have sexual problems, digestive problems (a condition called gastroparesis); difficulty sensing when your bladder is full; dizziness, fainting, or difficulty knowing when your blood sugar is low.