Many people associate a person who has diabetes as having high blood sugar. It’s an underestimated health marker. When your blood sugar levels aren’t managed over a period of time, it leads to diabetes. Diabetes damages your body’s insulin production, the hormone responsible for breaking down sugar to energy.
Diabetes has many effects on the body like risk of stroke, loss of consciousness, extreme thirst, visual impairment, cataracts, glaucoma, heart disease, infections, fatigue, high blood pressure, pancreas problems, urinating too much, impaired blood vessels, nerve damage, and cracked skin.
Diabetes can be managed when you catch it early. But when left untreated it can affect your heart, kidneys, and can lead to a stroke, and permanent nerve damage.
The normal mechanism after you eat or drink, your body will break down the sugars in your food and become energy. To do this, your pancreas has to produce insulin that facilitates the conversion of sugar to energy.
Diabetes leads to the pancreas producing too little insulin or no insulin. Blood glucose levels rise while your cells are deprived of energy. This can lead to many bodily problems.
Type 1 diabetes is also called insulin-dependent diabetes. It’s essentially an immune system disorder. Your immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. You’ll need insulin injections so you live. Many people are diagnosed this when they are teens.
Type 2 diabetes is largely insulin resistance. Your pancreas stops the effective use of insulin. You can’t pull sugar from your blood and produce energy. You’ll need insulin medication for this.
Prediabetes can still be managed with diet and blood sugar maintenance.
Gestational diabetes is diabetes that develops during pregnancy and is associated with high blood sugar. You can still control gestational diabetes with diet and exercise.
Digestive, Excretory, and Digestive Systems
If your pancreas can’t produce insulin, or your body doesn’t use it, other hormones try to turn fat into energy leading to harmful chemicals like acids, ketone bodies, which can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. You’ll feel extreme thirst, pee a lot, and become fatigued all the time.
Your breath smells sweet because there are too many ketones in your blood. If you leave this untreated, this can lead to fainting and even death.
Diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome can develop in people with type-2 diabetes. It’s characterized by high blood glucose but no ketones. Dehydration is a common symptom. You can also contract it because of an infection, heart attack, or stroke.
Diabetes can also affect your kidneys and its ability to filter the waste from your blood. If your doctor sees you have abnormally high levels of protein in your urine, it’s a big sign your kidneys have stopped functioning properly.
Diabetic nephropathy, or kidney disease due to diabetes, isn’t obvious until its later stages. Your doctor has to evaluate you for nephropathy to stop total kidney failure.
Circulatory System Damage
Diabetes can cause high blood pressure in you which strains your heart. When your glucose levels are high it contributes to fatty deposits in your blood vessels. It can then cause atherosclerosis or your blood vessels hardening.
Diabetes will multiply your risk of stroke and heart disease.
It’s best to monitor your blood glucose and eating habits.
You really need to stop smoking if you’re diabetic.
When your blood flow is impaired, you experience pain in your hands and feet while walking. You can even lose your feet’s sensation of heat. This is known as peripheral neuropathy, the loss of sensation in extremities.
Diabetes increases your risk of contracting infections and ulcers of the foot. Impaired blood flow can damage your foot so much that it needs to be amputated.
Your skin can also be compromised with diabetes. It will lack moisture, and you feel like you’re dehydrated. Your skin begins to crack. When you go swimming or take a bath, it’s important to dry your feet completely after. You’ll need to start using petroleum jelly or creams but not let it be too moist.
Calluses may start to form. If you get ulcers, talk to your doctor about preventing foot amputation. You may start to form boils if your diabetes has progressed. Hair follicle infection, sties, nails that look infected, brown patches on the skin.
Central Nervous System
Diabetes can damage your nerves permanently. It can affect your sensitivity to pain, the heat, and cold. It can increase your risk of injuries that can lead to infections.
The blood vessels in your eye become leaky and swollen. You can get diabetic retinopathy which leads to vision damage and blindness. Visit your eye doctor if you’re worried about your eyes.
When you’re pregnant, your hormones can cause gestational diabetes, running your risk of high blood.
Gestational diabetes can be controlled though and after the baby is born, your glucose levels can go back to normal. The symptoms you can experience are vaginal and bladder infections.
If you contract gestational diabetes, your baby may become overweight which makes delivery complicated. You can also get type 2 diabetes years after your baby is born.
If you are experiencing painful symptoms of possible diabetes, it’s advisable to consult an expert physician near you.
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