List of Diabetic Complications and Risks :
Diabetics have to always monitor and strive to regulate their blood sugar. Nevertheless, regardless of your efforts, short-term complications like ketoacidosis, hypoglycemia, and hyperglycemia which are associated with blood sugar can still occur. These short term diabetes complications require immediate attention. If left unattended to, they can lead to seizures and coma.
For diabetics, the body does not produce its own insulin. Without the insulin, blood glucose cannot be taken into the cells to be converted into energy. With the cells starved of energy, the body resorts to using fat. Ketones are the by products of this process of breaking down fat. They are acids which can be toxic to the body. Too much ketones in the body can result in dehydration, breathing problems, and abdominal pain.
Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)
For diabetics, hypoglycemia can happen for reasons such as missing a meal and participating in more physical activity than usual. Diabetics who regularly take glucose-lowering medications or have insulin injections are always predisposed towards hypoglycemia.
High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)
Hyperglycemia is a serious complication as frequent occurrence of the complication can result in damage to nerves and organs. Blood sugar do elevate to dangerous levels due to factors such fasting, overeating, stress, illness or too low a dosage of diabetes medication. However, sudden high rise in blood sugar need not be due to diabetes; it could be the result of illness, stress, or the use of certain medication and can bring on confusion, drowsiness, or even coma.
Type 2 Diabetes and Its Related Complications – Video Guide
Diabetic long-term complications, as the name implies, take a long time to develop. For every year a person is a diabetic, the risk of complication increases. However, time is not the only factor. Proper care and attention to the condition can prevent most, if not all, diabetic complications. The ability to manage blood sugar level well will certainly lower the possibility of diabetic complications occurring.
Researchers have found that there is a connection between blood vessel problems and most diabetes complications. It was discovered that years of high glucose level causes the narrowing of blood vessels leading to reduced flow of blood to every body parts such as the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. Such lessened blood flow may lead to dangerous, life-threatening malfunctions. Diabetics with such malfunctions must immediately consult a doctor.
Skin and Foot Problems
Due to nerve and blood-vessel damage, there is limited blood reaching the feet and the hands. It is important for diabetics to be concerned about foot problems encountered. Such problems as sores or cuts, if left untreated, may turn septic. If the skin ulcers do not heal, serious consequences can be more serious infection, then amputation or gangrene (tissue death).(see Diabetes and Foot Care)
A diabetic is about three times more susceptible to heart disease or stroke than a non-diabetic. For the diabetic, his risk of heart attack is as good as a person who has had a heart attack before. Artery disease and atherosclerosis risks are also greater for a diabetic. Problems of the heart and blood vessels connected to diabetes are damage to blood vessels to the legs and feet known as
When it comes to blood vessel damage in the eyes, vision problems or blindness can happen. Below are some of the conditions of the eye resulting from damages in the blood vessels.
- Macular edema : Macular edema is a problem arising from retinopathy. When capillary walls are unable to control the movement of substances from the blood to the retina, macular edema occurs. When liquid gets into the macula, it causes the macula to be filled with fluid and there is poor vision and possibly blindness. However, treatment can usually assist recovery from blindness.
- Diabetic retinopathy: This is a term used to describe any problem of the retina due to diabetes. When capillaries behind the eyes become bigger and form pouches, the condition is known as nonproliferative retinopathy. This condition can deteriorate into macula edema and proliferative retinopathy. In proliferative retinopathy, the damaged blood vessels close and this stimulated the formation of new blood vessels. However, these new blood vessels are not strong and blood can leak out in the eye, effectively blocking vision.
- Glaucoma : When there is pressure in the eye and the blood vessels to the retina and optic nerve are pinched, the condition is known as glaucoma. Gradually, it leads to blindness. Drugs may be used to slow down glaucoma.
- Cataracts : Even non-diabetics suffer from cataracts. However, diabetics are more predisposed to the condition. The condition causes the lens of the eyes to become hazy, thus preventing light from coming in. For mild cataracts, sunglasses and glare-reducing lenses can be used to overcome the problem. If the condition worsens, the lens of the eyes must be replaced.
Blood vessels and the nerves of the feet and hands can be harmed due to excessive glucose in the bloodstream. This can result in a pain, numbness, burning sensations and tingling. As the numbness become worse, even the injury may no longer be noticed. Eventually, infection develops.( see Diabetic Neuropathies)
Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2006, reported the ADA (American Diabetes Association). In 2005, diabetes and cases of diabetes complications accounted for 233,619 U.S. deaths, according to data available then.
Other long-term diabetes complications are :
- Erectile dysfunction.
- Kidney failure and kidney disease.
- Urinary tract infections.
- Skin infections.