The effects of Diabetes on your body and your life will be evident from head to toe if it’s not managed the right way.
Diabetes is not a simple condition that can be dismissed with a pill or an over-the-counter remedy.
It is a complex disorder of your metabolism that causes damage to the body systems and organs through an abnormal increase in blood sugar levels.
The effects are due to an increase in blood sugar which results in two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2.
- In Type 1 Diabetes the pancreas shuts down and no longer produces insulin.
- In Type 2 Diabetes insulin is being produced, but the body becomes resistant to the hormone and can no longer use it.
Changes because of diabetes in your body and your life happen over years and can sometimes be attributed to the aging process.
Unfortunately, kidney damage, heart damage, and stroke usually happen at a time when a person is already facing a decline in eyesight, memory, hearing and energy levels due to aging.
This is especially true if they haven’t always made the best lifestyle choices.
But, if you’ve just been diagnosed with Diabetes, many of these consequences (sometimes minor) can be delayed by making choices that improve your health.
Potentially, adjustments can be made in the way you now live, eat and enjoy a social life.
In either case, there will be a grieving process to go through, both because of the unexpected lifestyle changes and your thoughts on what the future holds.
- Sometimes the first symptoms of diabetes, (caused by high blood sugar levels affecting the way the kidneys filter urine), will be subtle. Many people just ignore them and put off seeing their doctors for weeks or months.
However, research has shown that the earlier a diagnosis is made, the longer the medical repercussions of diabetes can be delayed.
➡ The extra glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream will cause significant and cumulative damage to the eyes and retina; which may progress to blindness.
➡ The heart muscle may also be damaged, increasing the risks of heart attacks and strokes.
➡ The damage done to the vascular system in the heart (circulation) will also affect the peripheral vascular system that feeds your hands and feet with oxygen and nutrition.
➡ The higher levels of blood sugar will cause the vascular system to work poorly and allow fluid to build up in the extremities. The result is swelling in the feet which can lead to infection, open sores, gangrene and amputation.
All of it makes the kidneys have to work harder, and it takes its toll over the years.
➡ The kidneys try to filter the extra glucose out of the bloodstream.
➡ In order to do this, however, more water has to be extracted from the bloodstream, which leads to dehydration and thirst.
➡ It also leads to an increased urination.
Eventually, if the Diabetes is not controlled, the kidneys will just fail, shut down, and either dialysis or a transplant will be required. This effect is called Kidney Failure or End-Stage Renal Disease.
The effects of Diabetes on your life will prevent your body from repairing itself, as it’s designed to do.
However, whether you’re a newly diagnosed Diabetic or have lived with Diabetes for years, following the recommendations of your Endocrinologist and Diabetes Educator will allow you to live longer and be much happier and healthier, able to enjoy your life.
And, that’s what it’s all about.