Is It Just Diabetes?: Health Problems Associated with Diabetes
Posted Nov 05 2012 10:06pm
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar. This may be due to inadequate insulin production or because the body’s cells don’t respond properly to insulin, but regardless of the reason, there are a myriad of symptoms associated with the condition that can hinder everyday living such as blurred vision, lethargy, weight loss, nausea and vomiting.
It’s not just that these symptoms can be problematic, however. The real problem is that having diabetes can lead to several other illnesses and medical conditions that can affect the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves and other parts of the body. This domino effect caused by diabetes can be much more debilitating than dealing with diabetes on its own.
People with diabetes are at an increased risk for developing heart disease and are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. Middle-aged type 2 diabetics have the same high heart attack risk as people without diabetes who have already had a heart attack, and they are also more likely than non-diabetics to die if they have a heart attack. Additionally, diabetics are more likely to have repeat heart attacks.
Nerve damage is a complication that can have cascading and devastating consequences. More than half of the amputations done in the United States are related to diabetes. This is often because there is damage to the arteries that run to the legs. Problems with blood flow to the feet may result in tingling, pain, loss of feeling and ulcers or infections, and severe problems with the feet may increase the need for an amputation.
Nerve damage may also cause stomach and bowel problems because the stomach and intestines can become less active or unpredictable. Nausea, constipation or diarrhea may result. A stomach that is slow to empty as a result of diabetes is called gastroparesis. Artery damage may also cause sexual function problems, and impotence is especially common in diabetics who suffer from nerve damage. Other nerve damage problems that may result due to diabetes include dizziness when standing and localized nerve failures, which can occur anywhere throughout the body. Two common examples are eye movement problems that cause double vision and a drooping of the cheek on one side of the head, which is called Bell’s palsy.
Diabetes causes eye complications because small blood vessels in the retina are damaged. This can cause blindness and other vision problems for diabetics. Skin problems like infections, sores and itching are common among those with diabetes and are sometimes the first sign that someone has the disease. Diabetes can also cause kidney disease, which can lead to kidney failure, and dental problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis may be complications as well.
Certainly diabetes in and of itself can be a debilitating condition, but when considering the many other health problems that can result due to diabetes, it truly is a disease that should be taken seriously. Educate yourself about the causes of diabetes and proactively care for your body so that you can live a long, healthy and diabetes-free life.
The Specific Chiropractic Center invites you to our monthly health and wellness lecture series Wednesday, November 7th, 6:30pm. Come learn about the options for managing diabetes through this holiday season.