Diabetes is actually a highly manageable disease, say the experts. However, it’s something that can cause all sorts of complications, many of which can be very serious. The fact that glucose in the bloodstream stays constantly high — either due to insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas or the cells’ unresponsiveness to insulin (insulin resistance), or sometimes both — can have various devastating effects on your body. Here are 15 of them:
High Blood Pressure
Increased glucose levels in the blood all the time promotes the buildup of fatty substance in the blood vessels, causing blood flow to be impeded. This is the reason why it’s not uncommon for diabetics to suffer from high blood pressure.
Risk of Heart Disease
We all know that high blood pressure that’s left untreated can lead to cardiovascular problems. Due to this, someone with diabetes is at high risk of having heart disease and heart attack.
Increased Stroke Risk
One of the scariest complications of diabetes is stroke. Since the disease can cause damage to the blood vessels, a blood clot may form which can block the supply of oxygenated blood to a part of the brain.
Decreased Circulation in the Extremities
With narrowed blood vessels, blood supply to the extremities is reduced, potentially causing some serious infections and even gangrene or cell death. That’s why diabetes may cause the amputation of a foot or even the leg.
People with diabetes are susceptible to what’s called peripheral neuropathy, which is damage to the peripheral nerves. It can cause the extremities to feel painful or numb, sometimes there’s a tingling or burning sensation.
It’s not just the peripheral nerves that diabetes can damage, but also nerves elsewhere in the body. Due to this, erectile dysfunction, digestive issues and many other nerve-related issues may strike.
Risk of Having Gastroparesis
Speaking of digestive issues, diabetes can cause gastroparesis, a problem wherein the stomach cannot empty itself normally. This causes symptoms such as nausea and vomiting of undigested food particles.
Various Skin Problems
Those who suffer from diabetes are likely to have dry and cracked skin, especially on the feet. Boils, sties, folliculitis, nail fungus and various infections of the skin are also common.
Reduced Vision or Blindness
High glucose levels in the blood combined with high blood pressure can damage the structural components of the eyes, potentially causing reduced vision or sometimes even blindness.
Loss of Hearing
Similarly, uncontrolled levels of glucose in the blood as well as high blood pressure can wreak havoc to the various parts of the ear, thus causing hearing loss.
Small blood vessels in the kidneys may be damaged by constantly increased glucose and blood pressure, leading to kidney disease. Kidney disease is more common in those with diabetes than those who don’t, experts say.
The body of a diabetic turns to other hormones in order to produce energy, causing toxic byproducts. This results in what’s known as diabetic ketoacidosis, something that can lead to death if left untreated.
Various Issues with Pregnancy
Experts say that a pregnant woman with uncontrolled diabetes may suffer from preeclampsia, a life-threatening problem. Also, her risk of having gestational diabetes (diabetes that occurs during pregnancy) is increased.
Complications in Babies
Diabetes is not only bad for a pregnant woman, but also the baby inside her womb. Excessive growth, hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, and even death may ensue. Further, the baby may develop type 2 diabetes later on in life.
Increased Risk of Alzheimer’s
Someone who suffers from diabetes may be at high risk of having Alzheimer’s disease in the future, say the experts. They suspect that it has something to do with the bad effects of increased glucose levels to the brain cells.