Our bodies are amazing creations. However, it can be easy to take your body for granted, and fail to take a moment to marvel at what it can do. That is, until you are diagnosed with a disease that affects how well your body works. One such disease is diabetes. Without the proper medical attention, you can experience major health problems.
This disease can result in complications with your major organs and reduce your quality of life, according to the experts at the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus. If diabetes starts to get out of control, you could experience several health complications. Here are some truly horrible things that diabetes does to your body.
Gangrene is a condition that occurs when your body tissue dies as a result of poor blood flow to a certain area. Your fingers, toes, and limbs are the most common areas to be affected by gangrene. However, Mayo Clinic says your internal organs and muscles can also be affected. If you have diabetes, you have an increased risk of developing gangrene. This is because diabetes can damage your blood vessels and hamper blood flow, a risk factor for gangrene.
2. Nerve damage
Diabetics are in danger of developing nerve damage, which is also called neuropathy. Consequently, if you have diabetes and nerve damage, you might experience tingling, pain, or weakness in your extremities, especially your feet. Neuropathy could also cause diabetics to experience reduced feelings of pain, heat, and cold in their feet. This is why it is important for diabetics to get regular check-ups at their podiatrist’s office — it’s possible to hurt your foot and not realize it.
3. Foot ulcers
Another problem diabetics can develop is foot ulcers. They most often appear on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. Not all ulcers are painful, but it’s still important to seek medical attention if you have one. Foot ulcers could turn into an infection and even result in limb loss, says the American Diabetes Association.
Aftercare is just as important. Once the foot ulcer heals, scar tissue under the wound can start to break down easily. Your doctor might recommend special shoes after the ulcer has healed for added protection and to prevent the ulcer from coming back.
4. Kidney damage
The kidneys help remove waste products from blood. However, when the body is not functioning properly, the kidneys’ filtering system can begin to break down. A diabetic’s kidneys may even become so damaged that they completely fail. This often results in kidney disease and, due to high levels of blood glucose, the kidneys must filter too much blood. These strained organs can eventually begin to leak and protein is lost in the urine, a condition called microalbuminuria.
5. Hearing loss
Loss of hearing is another risk factor for diabetics. A study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism discovered diabetics have a higher incidence of hearing impairment. The findings were similar when comparisons were made with non-diabetic patients. Study findings were consistent regardless of the age of the participants. And yet another study published in the journal Otology & Neurotology, concluded that diabetes could severely impair hearing by causing significant damage to the inner ear.
When to see a doctor
The early warning signs of diabetes can be mild, especially with Type 2 diabetes. Some of the ones you can expect are increased fatigue and hunger, increased thirst and frequency of urination, blurred vision, dry mouth, and itchy skin. These symptoms typically show up after your blood sugar has been elevated for a long time. Type 1 diabetes symptoms tend to happen faster and symptoms are usually more severe. If you think you might have diabetes, schedule an appointment with your medical doctor as soon as possible.
If you’re trying to make sense of a diabetes diagnosis, you likely have lots of questions. Here are some resources that can help make your health journey a little smoother.
- Diabetes for Dummies
- Mayo Clinic Essential Book of Diabetes
- The Official Pocket Guide to Diabetic Food Choices
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