What are the health issues caused by diabetes and which organs of the body are affected? Is it possible to reduce these effects?
In diabetes, the body is not able to produce enough insulin or it is not able to utilize the available insulin effectively. This causes the rise in the blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar levels can cause many serious health issues. High blood sugar levels can affect other body parts as well. It causes damage to various parts of the body like, the eyes, heart, nerves, blood vessels, kidneys etc; it can also increase the risk of other health conditions.
Diabetes and its effects on the body
1. Heart and blood vessels
People suffering from diabetes are more prone to serious heart problems at an earlier age than people without the condition.
High blood sugar causes damage to the lining of blood vessels. High blood sugar levels cause narrowing of the blood vessels and reduce the flexibility of the arteries. This restricts the flow of blood and oxygen and causes damage to other body processes and organs.
This can cause stroke, heart attack, or peripheral arterial disease. Erectile dysfunction can be an early warning sign of blood vessel disease and indicates a higher risk of heart disease
Blood vessels of the eyes are affected by high blood sugar levels. This causes blurred vision, reduced vision, and even may lead to blindness. According to The American Diabetes Association report, among the people above the age of 40 years and suffering from diabetes, 28.5% had damage to their retina, which could cause loss of vision.
Studies have also shown that people with diabetes are more likely to develop cataract.
Nerves throughout the body can be damaged by high blood sugar levels. Nerve damage is referred to as diabetic neuropathy.
- Damages the nerves that sense pain, touch, hot, and cold.
- Damages nerves that control your heartbeat, blood pressure, digestion, sweating, urination, and sexual function.
- It may affect the nerves of back and chest and those nerves which control your eye muscles.
High blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels in the kidneys, because of which, the kidneys are not able to filter the waste products.
As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes is one of the main causes of kidney disease.
According to the American Diabetes Association, in 2011, 44% of new kidney failure cases were due to diabetes
Diabetes affects the skin as well.
People with diabetes are more susceptible to a variety of skin problems, such as:
- Dry skin
- Dark patches of skin (acanthosis nigricans)
- Bacterial infections like styes or boils
- Fungal infections like athlete’s foot
- Skin problems may include diabetic ulcers
- There can be open wounds, which are very slow to heal
People suffering from diabetes should monitor their feet regularly for any damage, and need to be extra careful. If ignored, damage to feet can be so severe that it may eve require amputation.
In diabetes, the sensation of touch is lost in feet, which results in common infections or foot sores.