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8 Effects Of Diabetes On The Body

Diabetes is a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar or glucose. It increases blood sugar levels that can lead to serious health problems like eye, heart, kidney, nerves, gastrointestinal tract, gums and teeth diseases.

The underlying cause of diabetes depends on the type. Chronic diabetes includes type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. The symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss, extreme hunger, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, and gum, skin, and vaginal infections.


Diabetes can cause long term damage to the body, which we are going to discuss in the article.

Effects Of Diabetes On The Body

1. Heart diseases

Diabetes is linked to coronary heart disease and high blood pressure. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, diabetes elevates the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, high blood sugar levels contribute to the formation of fatty deposits in the walls of the blood vessels.

2. Kidney damage

Diabetes also has the ability to damage your kidneys and affect its performance to filter out waste products from the blood, which is called as diabetic neuropathy [2] . Kidney damage takes place over a period of years. To prevent kidney irreversible kidney damage or kidney failure, nephropathy screening is done.


3. Vision loss

Diabetes also causes diabetic retinopathy, which is caused by damaged blood vessels at the back of the eye (retina). Diabetes also causes vision loss and other eye problems like cataracts, and glaucoma [3] .

4. Nerve damage

Increased blood sugar levels damage your nerves, which elevates the risk of developing infections or ulcers in the foot. There are 3 types of nerve damage caused by diabetes - peripheral diabetic neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and diabetic amyotrophy [4] .

5. Gum problems

Diabetes can also put you at a risk of gum disease, which causes the gums to be red, swollen and bleed easily. It thickens the blood vessels, which slows down the flow of nutrients and the elimination of toxic waste material, thereby weakening the gums and bone tissues.

6. Skin diseases

Diabetes also affects your skin, the high blood sugar levels cause the skin to become dehydrated, dry and cracked. It affects the small blood vessels of the body that supply the skin with blood, this condition is known as diabetic dermopathy. This makes the skin prone to boils folliculitis, infected nails, and sties [5] .

7. Reproductive problems

During pregnancy, there is a change in hormones which causes gestational diabetes, which in turn increases the risk of high blood pressure [6] . The symptoms include vagina and bladder infections. Pregnant women should watch out for two types of high blood pressure - preeclampsia or eclampsia. However, after delivery, the blood sugar levels return to normal.

8. Digestive problems

Diabetes causes gastroparesis, a disorder that occurs when the stomach takes a long time to empty out food. This causes symptoms like vomiting, nausea, and feeling of fullness [7] .

View Article References  
  1. [1]   Leon, B. M., & Maddox, T. M. (2015). Diabetes and cardiovascular disease: Epidemiology, biological mechanisms, treatment recommendations and future research. World journal of diabetes, 6(13), 1246–1258.
  2. [2]   Yee, J. (2008). Diabetic kidney disease: chronic kidney disease and diabetes. Diabetes Spectrum, 21(1), 8-10.
  3. [3]   Jeganathan, V. S. E., Wang, J. J., & Wong, T. Y. (2008). Ocular associations of diabetes other than diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes care, 31(9), 1905-1912.
  4. [4]   Juster-Switlyk, K., & Smith, A. G. (2016). Updates in diabetic peripheral neuropathy. F1000Research, 5, F1000 Faculty Rev-738.
  5. [5]   Ghosh, K., Das, K., Ghosh, S., Chakraborty, S., Jatua, S. K., Bhattacharya, A., & Ghosh, M. (2015). Prevalence of Skin Changes in Diabetes Mellitus and its Correlation with Internal Diseases: A Single Center Observational Study. Indian journal of dermatology, 60(5), 465–469.
  6. [6]   Kampmann, U., Madsen, L. R., Skajaa, G. O., Iversen, D. S., Moeller, N., & Ovesen, P. (2015). Gestational diabetes: A clinical update. World journal of diabetes, 6(8), 1065–1072.
  7. [7]   Camilleri, M., Parkman, H. P., Shafi, M. A., Abell, T. L., Gerson, L., & American College of Gastroenterology (2013). Clinical guideline: management of gastroparesis. The American journal of gastroenterology, 108(1), 18–38.

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