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The Long-term Complications of Diabetes Diabetes is a condition known as having a higher than normal blood glucose in the body. When insulin was discovered in 1922 it was then thought to be a cure for diabetes. However, it was realised that over a long period of time it could lead to stiffening of the blood vessels and reduction in oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. There is no cure but only prevention of complications. These long-term complications include heart attacks, stroke, poor circulation in the legs, problems with the eyes, kidney and nerves. Heart Attack and Stroke This is a complication of enlarged vessels known as Atherosclerosis. Deposits of fats and fibrous tissue in the vessel’s walls can build up and sometimes lead to rupture or damage. This can be slowed by reduced intake of cholesterol, stopped smoking, reducing blood pressure and adopting a healthy lifestyle. Smoking is very addictive and carries with it an additional risk of cancer. It kills one out of every two who smoke and takes away 10 years of life expectancy. It only exacerbate the condition of diabetes. One of the signs of stiffening of blood vessels is an increase in blood pressure. High blood pressure can cause the blood vessel to burst ( stroke ) and damage organs over the years especially true of the kidney. Blood fats – cholesterol and triglycerides levels are important indicators for the control and prevention of diabetes. Cholesterol itself are classified as HDL ( high –density lipoprotein ) and LDL ( low –density lipoprotein ). Ideally, one should have a HDL of 1.2mmol and LDL of 3.5 or lower. High triglycerides increase the risk of atherosclerosis development and it is advisable to keep in the range below 1.5mmol/l.

The heart is the blood pump of the body. It needs a blood supply of its own to provide its muscle cells with oxygen and energy. There are three main vessels that supply the heart and any narrowing or damage of these vessels will cause a starvation of oxygen in the heart muscle. This is painful and is called angina. Over a long period this will result in heart attack. Angina produces a feeling of tightness in the chest. Heart attacks are usually more severe chest pain, breathlessness, sweating and pain spreading to the neck, jaw or down the left arm. Transient ischaemic attacks (TIAs) are temporary interruptions of blood supply to part of the brain. Symptoms include severe headache, numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, difficulty in talking or swallowing, confusion or difficulty in talking, change or loss of vision in one or both eyes or dizziness or difficulty in co-ordination. A stroke is a result of permanent damage to areas of the brain by a reduction or stoppage in blood supply. Nerve Damage ( Neuropathy ) Foot problems are associated with diabetes because it causes nerve damage and poor circulation. There are three types of nerve damage- sensory, autonomic and motor. Sensory nerve damage or also known as a gradual loss of sensation to temperature, pain, pressure, vibration or positioning of the foot.Some may feel a tightness and stiffness of the skin and in more acute cases a painless feet failed to detect a sensation stepping on a nail or a cut by a sharp object.

Autonomic nerve damage are nerves that control the function of sweating. It will result in dry skin and loss of its elasticitysplitting and cracking of skin. Motor nerve damage is the third set of nerves that control the movement through muscles. It will lead to wasting of muscles and an alteration of the foot leading to deformity. Eyes – Retinopathy High levels of blood glucose found in diabetic patients can result in the narrowing or blockage of the vessels at the back of the eye. If left unchecked will lead to vessel rupture of the eyeballs and may result in loss of vision. Kidneys – Nephropathy It is a medical term for kidney ( renal ) disease. The kidney functions as a filter to capture the glucose, salts and other watery components of the blood and what is left is the urine which then passes out from the kidneys to the bladder. If excess glucose is present in the kidneys it will become less effective as a filter and that will result in protein leak. Typical symptoms are tiredness, nausea and loss of appetite, itchy skin and swelling of ankles, hands and eyelids. Want to know more on diabetes go to,

The Long-Term Complications of Diabetes  

Diabetes is a condition known as having a higher than normal blood glucose in the body. When insulin was discovered in 1922 it was then thou...