High blood glucose levels and complications related to Diabetes
Everyone always talks about the complications related to Diabetes. Let’s see how much these complications affect people with Diabetes and what can be done to avoid them.
Visual impairment is a common complication in both types of Diabetes 1 and 2. Diabetes causes between 15,000 and 39,000 new cases of blindness annually in U.S.A. The main cause of blindness in people with Diabetes is Diabetic Retinopathy, a term that refers to damage caused by Diabetes to the small vessels of the retina. In a study done with people with Type 1 Diabetes, almost everyone had retinal changes after having had Diabetes for 15 years.
Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: is a common and very mild form of complication, which doesn’t usually interfere with vision or require treatment. If Retinopathy begins to progress, timely diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial to prevent vision loss.
Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy: this is a more serious form of the disease and can cause blindness. About 25% of patients with Type 1 Diabetes and 10% of patients with Type 2 Diabetes suffer from Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy 15 years after having been diagnosed with Diabetes.
Kidney disease or Diabetic Nephropathy is a major cause of illness and premature death in people with Diabetes. Diabetic Nephropathy begins with Proteinuria (protein in the urine) and can progress up to the final stage of kidney disease, a condition that requires dialysis or kidney transplantation. Between 10% and 40% of deaths in people with Diabetes are caused by kidney problems, 34% of patients with Type 1 Diabetes, and 19% of patients with Type 2 Diabetes suffer from Diabetic Nephropathy after 15 years of having Diabetes.
Diabetic Neuropathy (nerve damage) is one of the most common chronic complications in Diabetes. Peripheral Neuropathy is the most common form of Neuropathy. Legs and feet are usually affected, although hands can be too. Autonomic Neuropathy affects the autonomic nerves such as the intestinal tract, genitals, etc. Some of the symptoms of Neuropathy occur when nerve fibers are damaged or lost, which can cause muscle weakness. If the loss of nerve fiber affects the sensory fibers, it can cause sensitivity loss. Sensitivity loss can have serious consequences: when sensitivity loss occurs in the feet (or toes) a person can be wounded (foot) without feeling pain. Such injuries increase the risk of infection in the foot. Diabetes is the most common cause of lower limb amputation. About 8% of people with Diabetes have Neuropathy by the time they’re diagnosed with Diabetes, and after 25 years at least half of people with Diabetes have Neuropathy symptoms. Autonomic Neuropathy occurs in 20 to 40% of patients with Diabetes.
Impotence (erectile dysfunction) is a common result of Autonomic Neuropathy, affecting 35% to 75% of all men with Diabetes. Autonomic Neuropathy can also cause digestive problems and make it difficult for patients to keep their blood pressure levels stable.
In people over 40, strokes occurs about 2 to 6 times more often in people with Diabetes. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the most important factors to care for to avoid Hemiplegia. This increased risk of stroke is due to the prevalence of hypertension in people with Diabetes.
People with Diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease; 55% of deaths in people with Diabetes are caused due to cardiovascular disease. High cholesterol and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels in relation to HDL (good cholesterol) are powerful risk factors that affect cardiovascular disease incidence. Cholesterol levels are generally higher in people with Diabetes, especially those with a “poor” control of their Diabetes. Hypertension is a higher cardiovascular risk factor. Half of adults with Diabetes report having hypertension in comparison to only 25% of people who don’t have it.