Public Enemy #1 In Belize
Created Date: 03 Sep 0 Comments
- Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) can affect many major organs in the body, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal most of the time can dramatically reduce the risk of these complications.
- Short-term complications:
- Short-term complications of diabetes, such as a high blood sugar level, require immediate care. Left untreated, these conditions can cause seizures and loss of consciousness (coma).
- Hyperglycemia: Hyperglycemia is a condition of high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels can rise for many reasons, including eating too much, stress, or not taking enough insulin or medications. It is important to check blood sugar levels often and watch for signs and symptoms of high blood sugar, including frequent urination, increased thirst, dry mouth, blurred vision, fatigue, and nausea. If hyperglycemia is present, adjustment to meal plans, medications, or both may be necessary. If blood sugar levels are persistently above 250 mg/dL, consulting a doctor immediately is recommended by healthcare providers. Diabetic hyperosmolar syndrome, a life-threatening condition in which sky-high blood sugar causes blood to become thick and syrupy, may be present.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis: Diabetic ketoacidosis is characterized by high levels of ketones in the blood. If the cells are starved for energy, the body may begin to break down fat. This produces toxic substances known as ketones. It is important to watch for loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fever, stomach pain, and a sweet, fruity smell on the breath, especially if the blood sugar level has been consistently higher than 250 milligrams/deciliter. Diabetic ketoacidosis is more common in type 1 diabetes than type 2.
- Hypoglycemia: Hypoglycemia is a condition of low blood sugar. If blood sugar levels drop below the target range, it is known as low blood sugar. Blood sugar levels can drop for reasons including skipping a meal, getting more physical activity than normal, or taking too much diabetic medication. It is important to check blood sugar levels regularly and to watch for early signs and symptoms of low blood sugar, including sweating, shakiness, weakness, hunger, dizziness, and nausea. Later signs and symptoms include slurred speech, drowsiness, and confusion. If signs or symptoms of low blood sugar are present, it is recommended by healthcare providers to eat or drink something that will quickly raise blood sugar levels, such as fruit juice, glucose tablets, hard candy, or regular (not diet) soda. If consciousness is lost, a family member or close contact may need to give an emergency injection of glucagon, a hormone that stimulates the release of sugar into the blood. Glucagon is a medication that is prescribed to some individuals with blood sugar regulation problems.
- Long-term complications:
- Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The earlier the individual develops diabetes and the less controlled the blood sugar levels are, the higher the risk of complications. Eventually, diabetes complications may be disabling or even life-threatening.
- Heart and blood vessel disease: Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), and high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 75% of individuals who have diabetes die of some type of heart or blood vessel disease. Diabetic microangiopathy is the damage to very small blood vessels due to high blood sugar levels. Microangiopathy causes the walls of very small blood vessels (capillaries) to become so thick and weak that they bleed, leak protein, and slow the flow of blood. Diabetics may develop microangiopathy with thickening of capillaries in many areas including the eyes, feet, legs, and kidneys.
- Diabetic neuropathy: Diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage, occurs due to excess blood sugar levels that can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish the nerves, especially in the legs. Diabetic neuropathy can cause tingling, numbness, burning, or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and over a period of months or years gradually spreads upward. Left untreated, the individual can lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Diabetic neuropathy is a common cause of limb amputations. The injuries to the skin occur and are not felt, due to neuropathy, until infection progresses too far to save the tissue, especially the toes and feet. Damage to the nerves that control digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. For men, erectile dysfunction may also occur as a result of poor blood flow to the penis and nerve damage, both caused by diabetes.
- Diabetic nephropathy: Diabetic nephropathy is kidney damage caused by uncontrolled high blood sugar. High blood sugar damages the filtering system of the kidneys. Over time, the damage can lead to kidney failure. Diabetic nephropathy is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Eye damage: Chronic high blood sugar levels damage sensitive blood vessels in the eye, resulting in blurry vision and vision damage. Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially leading to blindness. The primary cause of legal blindness in the working population of the United States today is diabetes mellitus. Diabetes also increases the risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
- Foot ulcers: Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications, including diabetic foot ulcers. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections. Severe damage might require toe, foot, or even leg amputation.
- Skin and mouth conditions: Diabetes may leave the individual more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial infections, fungal infections, and itching. Gum infections also may be a concern, especially if there is a history of poor dental hygiene.
- Osteoporosis: Diabetes may lead to lower than normal bone mineral density, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and more likely to break. If not prevented or if left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks.
- Alzheimer's disease: Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Alzheimer's disease is a progressive degenerative disease of the nervous system that leads to dementia and eventually death. The more uncontrolled blood sugar levels are, the greater the risk of developing AD. Researchers have found that cardiovascular problems caused by diabetes may contribute to dementia by blocking blood flow to the brain or causing strokes (neurological damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain). Other possibilities are that too much insulin in the blood leads to brain-damaging inflammation, or lack of insulin in the brain deprives brain cells of glucose.
- Gastroparesis: Gastroparesis is a disorder that affects people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In gastroparesis, movement of food through the stomach slows or stops completely. The muscles in the wall of the stomach work poorly or not at all, preventing the stomach from emptying properly. This can interfere with digestion and cause nausea and vomiting, problems with blood sugar control, and malnutrition.
- Depression: Studies report that individuals with diabetes have a greater risk of depression than individuals without diabetes. Causes underlying the association between depression and diabetes are unclear. Depression may develop because of stress but also may result from the metabolic effects of diabetes on the brain. Studies suggest that people with diabetes who have a history of depression are more likely to develop diabetic complications than those without depression.