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What complications can diabetes cause?

Posted in Personal Health 26 Jul, 2012

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease characterised by high blood sugar. The disease has two major variations, Type 1 or Type 2, which are defined by the body’s inability to produce enough insulin or its inability to respond to insulin produced. Type 2 diabetes, where the reaction to insulin is hampered, is the more common form of diabetes and with the increased prevalence obesity, one of the known causes of the disease, more and more people are developing it.

While diabetes treatments like Metformin have been developed for the condition, no direct cure exists. The disease can cause several complications if left untreated or mismanaged. This makes it extremely important to understand the complications diabetes can cause.

Cardiovascular Disease and Blood Vessel Damage

Heart disease and damage to the blood vessels are significant concern for patients with diabetes. It increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, with nearly 60% of fatalities attributed to these events. Adults with diabetes also tend to have a heart rate two to four times higher than those without diabetes and the condition can cause poor circulation in the extremities. Sadly, blood vessel and nerve damage caused by diabetes is also the main reason for required amputation.

Kidney Disease

Diabetes has become the leading cause of kidney failure in the United States. With obesity levels in the United Kingdom reaching similar levels, it is arguable that this trend is something that we are likely to see in the UK as well in the future. Medications that lower excessive blood pressure can reduce this risk substantially.

Eye Complications

Blindness can also develop as a result of untreated diabetes. This is due to the relation between blood vessel degradation and the disease. Eye disorders caused by diabetes can include glaucoma, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, where the retina becomes inflamed or damaged. Effective prevention relies on regular eye exams.

Sexual Problems

Recently a new study highlighted that middle-aged women with diabetes were also more likely to be dissatisfied with their sex lives. It is commonly known that diabetes can increase the risk of impotence, but this is one of the instances where research has suggested the disease may influence overall sexual satisfaction. In this particular case, women who received insulin treatment experienced problems relating to lubrication during sex as well as achieving orgasms.

These conditions, among others, make managing and treating diabetes effectively so important. While there is no cure, with proper treatment, diet and exercise, the risk of these diabetes complications can be reduced substantially and the initial condition managed safely. With obesity at an all-time high, consulting your doctor about your potential diabetes risk is important.

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