A condition in which the sugar (glucose) levels in the blood increase abnormally is known as Diabetes mellitus, simply referred to as diabetes.
Pancreas in the human body produces a hormone called insulin which helps convert the sugar into energy. In diabetes the body either fails to produce insulin or is unable to respond to it. This increases the quantity of sugar in the blood. This accumulation of sugar in the blood leads to diabetes which quite often affects the functioning of other body parts leading to various health complications.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition that should be treated immediately and should be kept within the normal limits as it may have adverse effects on the body giving rise to other diseases if left untreated. Enlisted below are some of the diseases that may be linked to diabetes mellitus.
Eye disease caused by diabetes
With increased blood sugar level gradually the eyes get damaged. The most common eye disease caused due to diabetes is 'diabetic retinopathy'. Retinopathy is considered an eye disease that causes decreased vision which gradually turns blurry and finally leads to blindness. As the high blood sugar level becomes consistent in a person, it slowly starts affecting the blood circulatory system of the retina. The blood vessels that sustain the retina are damaged leaking blood and other fluids that cause swelling of the tissues underlying the retina. This gradually clouds the vision. The longer one suffers from diabetes mellitus the more the person gets prone to this eye disease.
Diabetes induced kidney diseases
Kidneys have capillaries (blood vessels) which act as filters. As blood is filtered through the kidneys, the waste products are squeezed out through the tiny blood vessels of the kidney. These then become part of the urine and useful products such as red blood cells and protein are retained and remain in the blood. Diabetes damages this process by making the kidneys filter excess amount of blood. As the kidneys function excessively after some years they begin to leak out even proteins. Having a small quantity of protein in the urine is known as microalbuminuria whereas excess of it is known as macroalbuminuria. Kidney damage is normally diagnosed during its last stage (in macroalbuminuria). Overwork causes the kidneys to slowly become dysfunctional with the waste products getting built up in the blood. At last the kidneys fail leaving only two options- kidney transplant or having the blood filtered by a machine through a process known as dialysis.
Heart diseases caused by diabetes
Diabetes is known to be linked to cardiovascular diseases popularly known as heart diseases. Most diabetic patients are prone to heart diseases and stroke. Excess of sugar in the blood affects various body parts including the blood vessels such as the arteries, capillaries and veins. Heart diseases result in the narrowing of the blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, brain or hands and legs. As diabetes affects these blood vessels it increases the chances of heart diseases which may lead to stroke or sudden death.
Diabetes related foot problems
Diabetes causes poor blood circulation and neuropathy (damage caused to a single or group of nerves resulting in loss of sensation or movement) in the foot. One may develop cuts or blisters and still not be aware of it due to insensitivity. If left untreated, this wound may develop into ulcer.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)
CTS is normally associated with diabetes neuropathy. It is considered as one of the major complications caused in human body due to high blood sugar levels. Neuropathy deals with decreased nerve function affecting particular sensation. Symptoms include weakness, numbness and burning sensations that start in the fingers and toes and then slowly move upwards to the hands and legs respectively.
Gangrene due to diabetes
High blood sugar levels due to diabetes causes neuropathy leaving no feeling in the feet. This sometimes makes it difficult for patients to feel if there are any cuts or wounds. Diabetes also results in poor blood circulation in the blood vessels resulting in no blood supply to the area. Less blood supply results in less availability of oxygen for the tissue cells in the area. This results in the wound to turn into ulcer which later gets infected as the tissue cells die due to deprivation of oxygen. If the infection is left to grow rapidly it develops into gangrene which might result in amputation.
Skin problems caused by diabetes
Diabetes affects the body’s ability to resist infections (fungal and bacterial). Skin problems also cause severe itchiness.
Vascular Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are linked; however, research is still going on to fully understand this connection. People with very high blood sugar levels are at a greater risk of developing this disease. High blood sugar levels disrupt the blood vessels of the brain increasing chances of vascular dementia which is a kind of cognitive decline.
The Alzheimer’s disease is caused due to diabetes affecting the functioning of the brain and body tissues to respond to the insulin and utilize the glucose which hampers one’s reasoning and thinking powers.