Diabetes Affects Your Entire Body
The following diabetes symptoms are the most common, but some people with type 2 diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed.
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst
- Feeling very hungry, even with adequate food intake
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
- Weight loss, even though you are eating more (type 1)
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)
- Lack of interest and concentration
- Frequent infections
- Slow-healing wounds
Cardiovascular Disease: Statistics from the American Heart Association (AHA) provide compelling evidence regarding the strong correlation between cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.
- Heart diseases and stroke are the No. 1 causes of death and disability among people with type 2 diabetes. In least 65% of people with diabetes die from some form of heart disease or stroke.
- Adults with diabetes are two to four times more likely to suffer from heart disease or a stroke than adults without diabetes.
- The AHA considers diabetes to be one of the seven major controllable risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
- A primary reason many people with diabetes are at risk of cardiovascular disease is because other contributing factors are present, such as high blood pressure (hypertension), abnormal cholesterol and high triglycerides, obesity, lack of physical activity, poorly controlled blood sugar, and smoking.
Circulatory Problems: In people with diabetes, blood vessels can become damaged if high blood glucose levels are present over a period of time. Many people with diabetes have both peripheral arterial disease, which reduces blood flow to the feet and legs, and nerve disease, which reduces sensation. Concurrently, these problems make people with diabetes more prone to getting foot ulcers and infections that can lead to amputation. In 2010, there were 73,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations in adults age 20 or older with diagnosed diabetes.
Kidney Failure: According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure, accounting for nearly 44% of new cases. In general, it takes 15 to 25 years for kidney disease to develop in people with diabetes. High levels of blood sugar make the kidneys filter too much blood, so after many years, small amounts of the blood protein albumin leak into the urine. This first stage of chronic kidney failure is known as microalbuminuria, with filtration function often normal during this period. As the disease progresses, the amount of albumin in the urine increases and the kidneys’ filtering function usually begins to decrease. The body retains various wastes as the kidneys fail to effectively filter wastes, and blood pressure often increases at the same time.
Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetes can cause retinal blood vessels to break down, leak, or become blocked, resulting in impaired vision over time. A recent pooled analysis from 35 population-based studies estimates that 93 million people worldwide have diabetic retinopathy. Of those, 28 million people are at high risk of losing their sight. Studies have shown that the prevalence of retinopathy is higher in people with long duration of diabetes, type 1 diabetes, increased levels of glycated haemoglobin (HBA1c), high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
Glaucoma and Cataracts: According to Prevent Blindness America, people with diabetes are 40% more likely to develop glaucoma and 60% more likely to develop cataracts than those without diabetes.
While type 1 diabetes is not preventable, studies estimate that 58 to 71% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented through lifestyle interventions – obesity, an unhealthy diet, and a sedentary lifestyle are the major contributors. Smokers are about 50% more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.
- Control your weight
- If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, seek treatment
- Exercise regularly
- If you smoke, quit
- Maintain a healthy diet; the following dietary changes can have a positive impact on lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes:
- Choose products with whole grains over highly processed carbohydrates
- Eliminate sugary beverages; drink water, coffee, or tea instead
- Opt for good fats instead of bad fats
- Limit red and processed meats; choose nuts, whole grains, poultry, or fish instead
Contact Health City Cayman Islands to find out how we can help you or your child control and manage the disease that has become a serious global public health crisis. Compassionate diabetes care is a phone call away.