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Long term complications of Diabetes

Diabetes is a unique disease which practically affects all the organs of the body, from head to toe. It not just affects your physical health but also affects one’s mental well being. The complications of diabetes has huge impact on the quality of life of the patients.

Modern day living clubbed with little or no exercise and excessive consumption of high carbohydrate foods have increased several lifestyle disorders including diabetes.

Longer the duration and more uncontrolled your diabetes is , the higher is the risk of complications due to it.

Hence , it is very important to work towards diabetes reversal if you have Type 2 Diabetes.

Some of the long term complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus are as follows:

Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease:

If you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke than someone who doesn’t have diabetes—and at a younger age. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to have heart diseases and strokes.

Patients are more likely to be affected by these diseases due to an increase in triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.

Unmanaged blood sugar, in the long run, can damage and clog the arteries leading to heart attacks. Hence it is important to manage your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Maintain your weight and indulge in a regular workout schedule. Consume well-balanced and nutritional food. Stop smoking as it further multiplies the risk of heart diseases.

Diabetic patients are also susceptible to peripheral artery disease which causes symtoms like non healing ulcers, cold feet, nocturnal pain in legs etc

Diabetic nephropathy is a serious complication of diabetes. It affects the kidneys' ability to do their usual work of removing waste products and extra fluid from your body. Raised sugars and prolonged duration of diabetes damages the kidneys' filtering system.

It may eventually progress to kidney failure, which is a life-threatening condition. Currently the only treatment options for kidney disease are dialysis or a kidney transplant.

In the initial phases of diabetic kidney disease, the patient may be asymptomatic but later develops symptoms and signs like raised blood pressure control, leakage of protein in the urine, swelling of feet, ankles, hands or eyes, breathlessness on mild exertion or even at rest, nausea, reduced appetite, confusion etc.

Eye complications

Over time, high blood sugar may damage the blood vessels and lenses in your eyes which can affect your vision and sometimes even cause blindness.

Diabetic Retinopathy is the one of the most important eye complication and it is one the leading cause of blindness in adults. Like most of the diabetic complications, diabetic retinopathy is asymptomatic in the initial phases making regular eye testing (retina screening) very important. Retinopathy is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina).

The walls of the blood vessels become weak causing leakage of fluid and blood into the retina. If it's not treated, it can cause serious problems such as vision loss and retinal detachment, where the retina is pulled away from its normal position at the back of your eye.

Glaucoma and cataract are also common in patients of diabetes.

Diabetic Neuropathy

Are you a diabetic and have pain/burning or tingling sensation in your feet? If you answered yes, you most probably have peripheral diabetic neuropathy. High blood sugar leads to nerve damage which causes diabetic neuropathy.

Some patients might experience numbness in feet which also increases the risk of foot injuries.

Diabetic neuropathy can also affect the autonomic nervous system and cause problems with the digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart.

Diabetic neuropathy is a blanket term and includes peripheral diabetic neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, proximal neuropathy , mononeuropathy etc

Other Complications:

Other complications include repeated infections, skin diseases, slow healing of wounds, diabetic foot etc

Prevention of Long Term Complications of diabetes

Long term complications of diabetes are life altering and often deadly. Unfortunately ,it is very expensive to manage complications once they set in. Moreover, we have limited resources and medical treatments to reverse the complications. But the good news, is these complications are preventable.

The best action for Type 2 Diabetics would be to work towards diabetes reversal which will not only prevent complications but will also make you independent of medications and multiple tests. Consult a specialist doctor who can guide and help you with diabetes reversal.

For those who cannot reverse their diabetes, good sugar control is must with medications and dietary/ lifestyle changes to prevent complications.

Blood Pressure Control and cessation of smoking is also important .


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