The minute most of us hear “Diabetes”, we think of Blood Sugar.
Blood sugar is elevated level of sugar or glucose in the blood which if unchecked overtime, leads to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, inability of our body to convert sugar into glucose and subsequently elevated levels of glucose in the blood.
We all know about Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes but whats important is what happens in the body, when we have elevated levels of sugar in the body for long.
Common Effects and Risks associated with high sugar levels and diabetes are:
Risk of stroke: Diabetes or elevated sugar levels, increase our risk of stroke, about 4 times more than non diabetics
Risk of Heart Disease: Diabetes increases risk of heart attack , heart disease. As the blood vessels get damaged, it puts the heart under pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks. High glucose levels also lead to fatty deposits. Coupled with obesity, high blood pressure, it puts you at a severe risk and an angioplasty or an open heart bypass surgery may even be required.
Risk of Cataract: Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing cataracts
Risk of Glaucoma: Glaucoma risk is significantly more for diabetics. If left untreated, Glaucoma can lead to blindness.
Risk of Pancreas Malfunction: A malfunction in pancreas leads to diabetes and higher blood sugar levels in turn continue to damage the pancreas.
Risk of Gastroparesis: Increase in blood sugar levels also makes it hard for the stomach to empty completely. This also in turn leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, and heartburn are common symptoms.
Risk of Kidney Damage: Unchecked High sugar levels and diabetes, damages the kidneys, leads to diabetic neuropathy and eventually one may need a dialysis or even a kidney transplant.
Risk of Nerve Damage: Diabetics often have tingling sensation in the foot and suffer from nerve damage. Lack of sensation or peripheral neuropathy is dangerous as due to lack of sensation, one may fail to notice injuries
Foot Problems: Unchecked diabetes can lead to diabetic foot where the entire foot may even need to be amputated.
Ketoacidosis: In absence of insulin, the body uses alternate hormones to turn fat into energy, which creates a high level of toxic chemicals such as acids and ketones, which may lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis often leads to loss of consciousness and other life threatening complications. A Fruity Breath or a sweet smelling breath is often an indicator of diabetes and calls for a check on blood sugar levels.
Visual Problems: Diabetics often face visual problems, as high glucose levels often lead to swollen, leaky blood vessels in the eye, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. These vision problems, may even lead to partial or total loss of vision Vision problems can be gradual hence routine eye checkups if you are diabetic or have pre diabetes are a must.
Risk of damage to blood vessels: High blood sugar levels or high glucose levels,
restrict blood flow, damaging the blood vessels.
As unchecked diabetes, leads to a host of problems, it is important to make life style changes. Pre diabetes conditions can be reversed by exercise and dietary changes. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even reversed if significant life style changes are made.
One of the most important life style change is to Quit smoking as diabetes and smoking leads to an enhanced risk of heart disease.
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