- Diabetes mellitus or diabetes is a type of a pancreatic disease.
- Diabetes is not a singular disease, as it may be characterized by an array of disorders that increase the blood sugar level way above the normal limit.
- If diabetes is disregarded, it may become lethal.
Over a long period of time if a high blood sugar persists in your body then it is known as Diabetes or as the doctors states it, Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes is not a singular disease as it may be characterized by an array of disorders which increase the blood sugar level way above the normal limit.
The 3 predominant forms of diabetes are – Type 1 (Insulin dependent), Type 2 (Not insulin dependent) and Gestational (during pregnancy).
Primary causes may include – the body being unable to respond to the formed insulin (hormone that regulates blood sugar) or there might be an acute shortage of the insulin hormone due to a faulty pancreas (it produces insulin) or as such.
The symptoms and signs which would help you identify this condition are – Polyphagia or an increased appetite, Polyuria or a frequent urge to urinate and Polydipsia or an increased thirst. If left untreated, diabetes becomes complicated and may turn into a ground zero for other diseases.
Are you facing any health problems recently? Are you facing these health issues more often than usual? It could be contributed by Diabetes. Yes. Diabetes affects many parts of your body.
One of the earliest manifestations of diabetes is Periodontitis. Do you see bleeding gums? Do you see swollen gums? Are you having a bad breath these days? Are you having loose tooth off late? This is Periodontitis.
Periodontitis is the inflammation of gums. Redness, swelling, increased temperature, and pain is the sign of inflammation. It may first manifest as a mild infection causing inflammation also known as Gingivitis.
Periodontitis is most common in Diabetics. You may not be having Diabetes, but if you are developing Periodontitis, you should check your sugar levels. Diabetes increases inflammation and reduces the blood supply to the gums. Proper dental care with daily brushing, flossing and periodical checkups by a dentist can help solve the problem.
Diabetes causes Glaucoma, Cataract and Blindness. Glaucoma and Cataract being two of the most serious visual disorders should not be ignored or left untreated.
In Glaucoma there’s an excessive pressure in the eye (Intra Ocular Pressure), which gradually leads to blindness if not treated.
In Cataract eye lenses get blurred as there is a near opaque or cloudy formation on it. Excessive blurring will need surgery. Though prevalent in the elderly (above age 60), it can cause blindness if untreated.
Are you experiencing high blood pressure? Did you get a chest pain? Are your bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels high? It could be contributed by Diabetes.
Blood pressure/BP is the pressure at which your blood flows through the blood vessels. Above 140/90 is high BP. Untreated high BP (hypertension) may lead to sudden death!
Bad cholesterol/ LDL increase the chances of heart diseases.
Triglycerides are unwanted fats present in blood that lead to many diseases. High BP also increases the chances of Heart attack. Here, medication and regular blood pressure checkups can be useful in keeping your BP under control.
Nerve damage that’s caused by Diabetes is called as Neuropathy. AT least 50% of Diabetics have nerve damage.
Also known as Peripheral Neuropathy, this disease can increase the vulnerability to injury and even mask the pain if the affected place is under your feet, toes or heels. Tingling sensation in the feet/ feeling pins in the feet/ numbness are the signs of Peripheral neuropathy.
Autonomic neuropathy has the following symptoms:
- Urinary tract infections/ UTI: Nerves that supply the bladder are damaged. So urine stays in the bladder, leading to UTI.
- Erectile dysfunction/ ED: Nerves that supply Penis are damaged, so Penis does not get erected. It could render the male impotent.
- Diarrhea/ Constipation: Nerves that supply the intestine are damaged leading to Diarrhea/ Passing motion more often and Constipation/ Passing stools less often.
- Digestive system disturbances: Improper digestion of food, heart burn, vomiting sensation and bloating/ feeling that stomach is full. This makes it difficult to control your BSL/ blood sugar level.
- Dizziness/fainting: When you stand up suddenly you feel sudden disorientation due to a BP drop.
Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS):
This is very dangerous and usually happens in old people. An illness or infection might be leading to this. Here BSL is above 600 mg/dl, high fever, hallucinations/ seeing things that are not there and loss of vision. Mainly the affected here are the patients of Type 2 diabetes (rarely Type 1). The dehydration caused here can be serious and it can lead to coma, seizures and even death if untreated.
Stroke is when blood supply to some parts of Brain is stopped. Thus Brain tissue gets damaged. This leads to difficulty thinking/ depression/ difficulty moving, remembering or speaking etc. The blood cholesterol, sugar and pressure levels are at high levels which is the cause of it.
Kidneys flush away waste products through urine. Diabetes disturbs this.
How does it happen? Kidneys usually excrete only waste products. Useful substances such as proteins and red blood cells are retained. But Diabetes disturbs this and Kidneys end up excreting proteins. Thus it may result in Hematuria and Proteinuria.
Due to nerve damage your foot won’t be able to sense cuts and wounds. You may have a stone in your shoe and walk whole day without knowing it.
Feet become dry and skin peels off.
Calluses form very often. They need to be trimmed otherwise they lead to ulcers. Neglecting ulcers may lead to loss of limbs. Other conditions like Folliculitis, Bacterial infections, Digital Sclerosis and Xanthomatosis may affect the parts of integumentary system (Nails, hair, armpits, groin among others)
Just like Periodontitis, skin problems could be the first sign of Diabetes!
Diabetes makes one susceptible to infections around eyes, skin, hair and nails.
Fungal infections in vagina, ringworm infection, infection under the foreskin in men, under breasts and around nails are common.
Regular check-ups are the best ways to prevent or delay above complications! Early recognition prevents permanent damage to your organ. Diabetes if disregarded may prove to be lethal.