People with diabetes can effectively control their blood glucose levels by medication, but potential complications can arise no matter how careful they may be. Diabetes can take a toll on almost every organ in the body, such as the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves, teeth.
There are two types of complications: acute and chronic. Acute complications (such as hypoglycema, ketoacidosisrequire) require emergency care. If left untreated, these conditions can cause loss of consciousness, seizures, even death. Chronic complications can occur in the eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart and blood vessels.
Diabetes can damage blood vessels in the eyes and lead to eye problems, some of which can result in blindness if left untreated: Glaucoma, Cataracts, Diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a general term used to describe any problems of the retina caused by diabetes. In the early stages, capillaries in the back of the eye enlarge and form pouch, it can also advance to the proliferative form. This can lead to swelling, bleeding and even permanent vision loss.
The good news is regular eye exams and timely treatment of these eye problems could prevent up to 90% of diabetes-related blindness.
The kidney’s ability to filter waste from the blood can be seriously damaged by diabetes. High blood sugar levels can also make substances such as protein, which are not filtered into the urine, to be released. People with diabetes-related kidney disease may not have any symptoms in the early stages. In later stages, it can make the feet and legs swell. If not diagnosed and treated early, diabetic kidney disease may lead to the need for dialysis.
The good news is that medications that lower blood pressure can cut the risk of kidney failure by 33%.
Heart and blood vessels
High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels. This can cause problems with circulation and increase the risk of serious cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack and stroke. People with diabetes are at least twice as likely to have strokes and other heart problems. Blood vessel damage caused by diabetes may cause foot and leg problems which can lead to amputations
Symptoms: Patients may not notice any warning signs until they have a heart attack or stroke. Blood vessel problems in the feet and legs can cause cramps, less sensation, and changes in skin color.
However, patients could avoid these problems or stop them from getting worse by controlling their blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar levels over time can harm the nerves. Peripheral diabetic neuropathy can cause pain, burning, tingling or a loss of feeling in your feet usually starts with your toes, your hands, and other body parts. Diabetes can damage the nerves that control the internal organs. This can lead to digestive issues, sexual problems, dizziness or fainting.
The good news is that patients may have many options to treat their pain. The doctor might prescribe an antidepressant, or drugs that go on your skin like creams or patches. He might also suggest a device that can stimulate the nerves called TENS, which means transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 24, 2017 | Last Modified: May 24, 2017
Diabetes Complications. http://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes-complications#Overview1. Accessed February 11, 2017.
How Does Diabetes Affect Your Body? http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/risks-complications-uncontrolled-diabetes#1. Accessed February 11, 2017.