Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can affect the body directly or can cause other illnesses or complications as a consequence of the initial disease. This article will discuss the direct affects on the body due to diabetes and also the complications that may occur. It is believed that complications from diabetes can be minimized if the proper care is received for diabetes so this article will also describe the best way to manage and treat diabetes.
Diabetes affects the beta cells in the islet cells within the pancreas.
In type 1 diabetes the cells are destroyed by the body because the body thinks they are pathogens. The beta cells create insulin. Insulin is used to convert glucose in the blood to glycogen in the fat, muscle and liver cells and thus reduce the level of glucose in the blood as a by-product. Without insulin the glucose level can not be reduced and this can lead to hyperglycemia.
In type 2 diabetes the body develops insulin resistance. This means the body can still produce insulin but the body needs more insulin to deal with blood sugar levels or the insulin is simply ineffective. This will also lead to high glucose levels in the blood and hyperglycemia
Classic symptoms of hyperglycemia are:
Polydipsia or frequent or sudden thirst
Polyuria or frequent urination
Polyphagia or frequent or sudden hunger
Other symptoms may include
Dryness of the mouth or itchiness all over the body
High blood sugar levels are treated by injecting insulin into the body. If insulin is not injected this can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. If there is no insulin in the body the glucose in the blood can not be transformed into energy thus the body looks for energy elsewhere in the body. It essentially starts to use parts of the body as an energy source. If this goes undetected the sufferer can go into a coma. It is probably on of the most serious consequences of diabetes and can lead to death.
Chronic high blood sugar levels are also believed to be bad for the blood vessels and the heart. These types of conditions are broken down into macro vascular and micro vascular diseases.
Macro vascular diseases are related to the heart and the larger blood vessels like the arteries. It is believed that the excessive sugar in the blood vessels causes the lining of the blood vessels to become scored and rough which in turn causes fatty substances to stick to the lining. This can lead to atherosclerosis or thickening of the artery walls. This can lead to numerous complications including heart disease and strokes. It can also lead to poor circulation of the blood in general.
Poor circulation is primarily responsible for most of the micro vascular diseases. Micro vascular disease are related to the small blood vessels like the capillaries that supply blood to the eyes, nervous system and extremities of the body. As the circulation becomes worse these parts of the body do not get the nutrients that blood supplies and begin to have problems.
A common problem is diabetic neuropathy. This is defined as nerve damage. Interrupted or poor blood supply causes the nerves to malfunction and this can lead to pain, numbness or insensitivity to any part of the body. The most common area is the feet and special care and attention should be reserved for the feet.
Another micro vascular disease is known as diabetic retinopathy. This is caused by lack of blood supply to the fine capillaries vessels on the retina. This causes the capillaries to dies and new capillaries grow in their place. These capillaries tend to be weaker and will leak blood into the aqueous humor of the eye. This can lead to poor vision and ultimately blindness.
The best way to prevent acute and chronic complications of diabetes is to monitor and maintain the level of glucose in the blood. If this level can be kept low and constant there is less chance that any of the diseases mentioned above will occur. The best way to do this is to develop a diet plan, exercise consistently and take insulin or medication when and as required.