Diabetes Mellitus, more commonly recognized as Diabetes is a chronic metabolic condition characterized by elevated blood sugar (blood glucose) levels. Diabetes prevents the body from properly using the energy from the food ingested. Diabetes being one of the most common and serious diseases has many different complications.
Complications of diabetes vary with the severity, part it affects and many more.
Complications of diabetes mellitus:
The various complications of diabetes mellitus includes:
- Cardiovascular diseases
People with diabetes are two times more likely than people without diabetes to develop heart disease or a stroke. This is one of the most common complications of diabetes.
Nerve damage from diabetes is called diabetic neuropathy. About half of all diabetes patients have some form of nerve damage. The walls of the small blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish our nerves, particularly in our legs, maybe injured by excess sugar. This may induce tingling, numbness, burning or discomfort that typically starts and eventually extends upward at the tips of the toes or fingers.
- Skin complications
Diabetes patients are more susceptible to skin conditions, including bacterial and fungal infections.
- Retinopathy ( Eye complications)
Diabetes may damage the retina (diabetic retinopathy) blood vessels, potentially leading to blindness. The danger of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma, is also increased by diabetes. Retinopathy is one of the most commonly occurring complications of diabetes.
- Hearing impairment:
Diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear. This leads to hearing impairment
- Alzheimer’s disease
Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of dementia. Diabetes causes chemical imbalances in the brain. This leads to brain damage which is caused by reduced or completely blocked blood flow to the brain. This leads to a condition called vascular dementia.
Depression is common among diabetes patients. It also affects diabetes management.
- Nephropathy ( Kidney problems)
Diabetes can damage the delicate filtering system of collecting waste from the blood inside the kidneys. Severe damage leads to kidney failure or other end-stage kidney conditions.
- Foot damage:
Diabetes causes nerve damage in the feet and also poor blood flow to the feet leads to various foot complications. The injuries can turn into infections which usually heal poorly.
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis:
Diabetic ketoacidosis occurs when the body begins to break fat for energy leading to a buildup of ketones in the blood. These built-up ketones make the blood more acidic causing various health problems.
Complications of gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes mellitus that occurs in the case of pregnant women. The complications can differ in the case of the mother and the baby.
Complications in the baby:
- Excess growth: The high blood glucose can trigger the pancreas to create more insulin. This leads to too much growth of the baby, requiring c- section birth.
- Diabetes in the future: Babies of diabetes patients are more likely to have type 2 diabetes in their later stages of life.
- Risk of death: Untreated gestational diabetes can cause death to the child before or right after birth.
- Low levels of blood sugar
Complications in the mother:
- Preeclampsia: This complication causes high blood pressure, high levels of protein in the urine and swelling in the legs. It can be serious and life-threatening.
- If a person is diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy, it is very likely that they get diagnosed again with gestational diabetes during the next pregnancy.
Complications of Prediabetes:
One of the main complications of prediabetes is that it can lead to the onset of type 2 diabetes.
It is an eye disease that is caused by diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is caused when high blood sugar levels cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can close, stopping blood from passing through or can swell and leak. The retina is the light-sensitive membrane covering the back of the eye that sends signals to the brain via the optic nerve.
Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy:
- Blurry vision
- Dark areas in the vision
- Floating dark or empty spots in the field of vision
- Double vision
- Impaired colour vision
- Poor night vision
- Loss of vision
- Eye pain
Diabetic Neuropathy is a complication of diabetes that results in nerve damage. Elevated blood sugar levels can injure nerves throughout the body. It develops slowly over a period of time. The body works based on the nervous system. Nerves enable people to move, send messages to and from the brain, and control involuntary and voluntary functions.
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy:
The symptoms of diabetic neuropathy vary according to which type the person is diagnosed with. However, there are a few common symptoms that are usually seen in diabetic neuropathy patients:
- Loss of sense of touch
- Poor physical coordination
- Numbness or pain in the affected areas
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated heart rate
- Vision problems
- Dizziness when standing up
- Tingling feeling
- Burning sensation in the feet
- Either excessive sweating or decreased sweating
- Erectile dysfunction
Diabetic Ketoacidosis is a very serious complication of diabetes. It occurs when the body produces high levels of ketones (blood acids). This condition is usually caused when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. When there is not enough insulin, the body breaks down fat as fuel. This leads to the buildup of ketones in the bloodstream.
Symptoms of Diabetic Ketoacidosis
- Weakness or fatigue
- Abdominal pain
- Extreme thirst
- Frequent urination
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Nausea or vomiting
Diabetic foot is one of the long term complications of diabetes mellitus. It is caused by the damage done to the nerves in the feet or legs. Patients usually have a reduced ability to feel pain, this leads to ignorance of minor injuries. This can lead to infection, foot ulcers and many other serious complications.
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