Affect of Diabetes on Your Body
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which there is a high blood glucose level in your blood. Currently, there are 2 recognized types for diabetes mellitus, which are type 1 diabetes mellitus and type 2 diabetes mellitus. These two types of diabetes mellitus cause a rise in blood glucose level in our body and causing long-term damages if left untreated. Type 1 diabetes mellitus is an auto-immune condition, which means the own immune system attacks the pancreas and insulin cannot be produced. This condition often happened in young patients. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial condition, which means they are caused by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors. Type 2 diabetes also referred to as adult-onset diabetes, which happened later in life. Although these 2 types have a different cause, they share some diabetes symptoms such as fatigue, excessive urination, increase thirst, blurred vision or tingling sensation in the hands or feet. It is important to get yourself check-up for diabetes mellitus if you have these diabetes symptoms. This is because diabetes mellitus can cause long-term damage to your body if left untreated or undiagnosed. The effect of diabetes on your body ranges from damages to your blood vessels, nerves and immune system. These effects are known as diabetes complications which predisposed you to other diseases.
a) Effect of diabetes on the blood vessels :
The effect of diabetes on the blood vessels can be divided into the macrovascular complication and microvascular complication. They have different complications due to the location of affected blood vessels.
i) Macrovascular complications :
Macrovascular means large blood vessels. The research found that high blood glucose in the bloodstream causes damage of the blood vessels cell lining. This can cause deposition of fats in the blood vessels. As a result, it causes the formation of atherosclerotic plaque. This correlation shows that diabetic patients have a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis. The formation of the plaque can block the blood vessels, preventing blood supply to distant organs. Macrovascular complications can happen at a few locations. If the blockage happened in the brain, it can cause a stroke. If the blockage happened in the heart artery, it can cause a heart attack. If the blockage happened in the legs or your limbs, it can cause a condition known as the peripheral arterial diseases.
ii) Microvascular complications :
Microvascular means small blood vessels. Again, high blood glucose in the bloodstream is causing damage to these blood vessels. As a result, the blood vessels are prone to formation of plaque. This impairs the blood flow to the targeted organs especially the eyes and the kidneys. If left untreated, these patients can have permanent damages to these organs. Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the eye. A patient with diabetic retinopathy may complain of progressive blurred visions even though they treated in the long term. Therefore, an annual eye screening is recommended for all diabetic patients. Diabetic nephropathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels in the kidney. It is the major cause of chronic kidney failure and should be treated seriously. A patient with diabetic nephropathy can have associated hypertension.
- b) Effect of diabetes on the nerves :
Besides the effect on the blood vessels, diabetes can affect the nerves in our body in the long term. This condition is known as diabetic neuropathy, and depending on the affected nerves, they can produce different symptoms. In a patient with diabetic neuropathy, the nerve is damaged due to high blood glucose. The diabetic patient is commonly affected by nerve damage to the legs, causing tingling and pain sensation. As a result, it can cause the patient unable to sense the presence of wounds in their feet. Therefore, foot checking is an important routine for diabetic patients to prevent untreated wound. In addition, diabetes can affect the nerve of your stomach known as diabetic gastroparesis. It can reduce the movement of food in your digestive tract and leads to indigestion. In the long term, it will affect the nutritional intake of a diabetic patient.
c) Effect of diabetes on the immune system :
It is known that high blood glucose can weaken your body immune system. The immune system protects our body from infections. Therefore, a weakened immune system makes the diabetic patient prone to infections. infections For foot infections, a diabetic patient is more susceptible if he has diabetic neuropathy, the nerve damages caused by diabetes mellitus itself. So, maintaining good hygiene, good skin care, and good foot care is very helpful to prevent these infections.
Awareness of these diabetic complications is important to promote prompt healthcare checkup and treatment among the public. These complications can be prevented through good blood glucose control either by lifestyle modification or medications. Always talk to the healthcare providers or doctor if you experienced these symptoms to find out the cause. Remember there are healthcare professionals that can help you to manage diabetes.