The harmful effects of diabetes can have a serious impact on someone’s health in later life. Diabetes is a complicated metabolic health problem that can cause damage to your body systems and organs when your blood sugar levels rise to well above normal. This increase in blood sugar can be caused by two different types of diabetes. With type-1 diabetes, the pancreas actually shuts down and can’t produce the insulin needed to maintain a good blood sugar level. With type-2, the insulin is still produced, but your body becomes resistant to it and can no longer use it.
It usually takes years for the harmful effects of diabetes to kick in and even then, some things can be the result of the natural aging process. The sad thing is that the effects of diabetes, such as kidney damage, heart problems and stroke, usually happen when age is causing a decline in your eyesight, memory, hearing and energy levels. These declines are often the result of poor lifestyle choices.
These distressing conditions can be delayed if you make some lifestyle changes and choices that will improve your health. But these changes will probably need you to look closely at the way you live, eat and enjoy a social life. In any case, if you are suffering from diabetes, you may need to do a lot of soul searching because of the lifestyle changes you will be forced to make as well as the uncertain future you are facing.
Symptoms can come on so subtly that many people will ignore them and not bother going for a check-up for weeks or months. Don’t do this! Researchers are finding that the earlier a diagnosis is made then the longer the harmful effects of diabetes can be delayed. The symptoms are caused by high blood glucose or sugar levels which affect the way the kidneys filter urine.
The extra levels of glucose in the blood will, over time, cause considerable damage to the eyes and retina, eventually leading to blindness. The heart muscle can also become damaged, potentially leading to heart disease, stroke and an increased risk of heart attack. The damage that is done to the veins and arteries in your heart will also lead to damage in those in your hands and feet: especially your feet.
This is known as the peripheral vascular system and feeds your hands and feet with oxygen and nutrients. An increase in blood sugar will have a bad effect on this vascular system and allow the build-up of fluid in these extremities. This can lead to swelling, sores and in a worst case scenario, amputation due to gangrene. This building up of fluid affects the cellular structure of the feet which increases the risk of infection and the body then has less of a chance to repair itself.
Another of the harmful effects of diabetes is that the increase in blood sugar increases the amount of work the kidneys have to do. this takes a heavy toll over the years. The kidneys will attempt to filter out this extra glucose but to do this they need to extract more water from the blood which leads to dehydration. This will make you more thirsty and make you pee more frequently. Without control, this increased workload will eventually lead to kidney failure. The increased strain on the veins in the kidneys will also contribute towards this.