Not many people give much thought to controlling their blood sugar but learning of the complications of diabetes might get you thinking twice. As the incidences of lifestyle disease continue to increase significantly in most of the populations especially in developed countries, medical experts are urging people to take care of their health. In diabetes for instance, people are advised to keep track of, and to control their blood sugar within the healthy range. Most people wonder why and perhaps it might help you to know that complications of diabetes occur when your blood sugar level stays above the normal range for a longer time.
So what exactly are the complications of diabetes; you may ask. These are complications to other body parts and systems that occur as a result of presence of diabetes in the body. In most of the cases, they will be caused by higher than normal blood sugar levels that persist for a long time. However, this is not the only culprit as genetic factors may also come into play. When they occur, complications of diabetes are widely varied and they have the potential to affect most of the organ systems of the body. Some of the most common diabetes complications include;
Neuropathy/Nerve disease: This is one of the most common long term complications of diabetes. It occurs in approximately 60-70% of diabetics in mild to severe form. It may affect the femoral nerve giving rise to pain and sometimes resulting in amputations. Nerves in the back, arms and abdomen may be affected too. Nerve damage also interferes with erections in males leading to erectile dysfunction.
Nephropathy: This is a leading cause of death in young diabetics. It is a less common diabetes complication and it involves destruction of the kidney nephrons which in turn leads to renal disease and renal failure. It can be reduced by controlling the blood sugar levels.
Retinopathy: This is one of the more common complications of diabetes and it involves the narrowing, hemorrhaging, severing, hardening or bulging of the veins and capillaries in the retina of the eye. This results in diminished vision, visual field contraction, photophobia and eventual loss of vision at the late stage.
Arteriosclerosis: This refers to vessel disease which is an end stage diabetes complication and also a leading cause of death among diabetics. Diabetes will cause severe vascular changes which result in ulcers and gangrene. Sometimes the cause of vascular disease in the diabetics may overlap with causes in non diabetics hence it is good to avoid predisposing factors such as smoking, stress and hypertension among others.
Hypoglycemia: This may result from increase in the amount of insulin especially due to administration of insulin in the body or the use of hypoglycemic drugs.
Digestive disorders: This is another of the complications of diabetes that includes conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, ulcers and diarrhea among others.
Oral complications: Periodontal or gum disease is common in diabetics
Other common complications of diabetes include, pregnancy complications, increased incidence of infections, ketoacidosis and urologic problems.