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Diabetes Complications

Once we have crossed the reversible stage of prediabetes and enter diabetes stage, certain changes start developing in our body. These changes occur due to high blood sugar level with instability in the hormones as well as blood vessels and nerves. When these changes become permanent in the body it develops into serious Diabetes Complications and body indicates these changes by steady symptoms.

Symptoms of the Diabetes Complications

  • Diabetic retinopathy shows symptoms of pain in the eyes and may even result in loss of vision.
  • Renal (kidney) disease shows symptoms of swelling (edema) in the feet and legs. It then passes over total body and as the disease progresses, blood pressure also increases.
  • Tingling, burning, numbness, tightness, shooting or stabbing pain in the hands, feet or other parts of your body, especially at night. Digestive problems also occur if, the nerves controlling internal organs get damaged (autonomic neuropathy).
  • You may have scanty or profuse sweating, difficulty of sensing when your bladder is full, when there is a low blood sugar, increased sexual problems, weakness, dizziness, and fainting.
  • Chest pain (angina) or shortness of breath dizziness or light headache, shoulder or stomach pain, fast heartbeat. You might not show any symptoms until having a heart attack or stroke.

When alarming symptoms given by the body are ignored and the same status is maintained, it starts damaging body organs, such as heart, kidney, eye, feet, and skin. The physiology for each and every affected organ is explained one by one.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a type of micro vascular disease in which the micro vessel, supplying blood to the retina of our eye is affected. Retinopathy is related to high blood sugar level and obstructs the flow of oxygen to the cells of the retina. Retina is an ultra thin layer of blood vessel made up of rods and cones. As soon as the retina receives signals of light, it is sent to the brain and a three dimensional figure is formed and identified, this is sent back to the eye by which we can recognize the things around us. The high blood glucose level hinders its working and leaves obstacles in passing light through the retina, thus, leading to improper vision.

The early stage of this disease is called non proliferate diabetic retinopathy. The blurred and distorted vision is because of macular edema. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the advanced form of diabetic retinopathy; the new blood vessels break, as they are weak and leak blood into vitreous of the eye, which will lead to floating spots in the eye. The pace of damage is not similar in both the eyes but, both the eyes are affected by this disease. Some times one eye is affected more easily than the other. After some period, the swollen and scar nerve tissue of the retina is totally destroyed and pulls up the entire layer of retina and detaches it from the back of the eye. Retinal detachment is the cause behind blindness among diabetics in middle age. The other two types of eye problems usually seen earlier in the people suffering from diabetes are:

  • Cataract :- A thin cloudy layer appears in front of your eye leading to unclear vision. In cataract surgery this thin layer is removed and setting of a plastic layer in front of the lens is done, thus gives you a clear vision again.
  • Glaucoma :- Due to high pressure on the optic nerve, it gets damaged. The damaged optic nerve creates disturbance in clear vision. Laser surgery or simple eye drops may help in regaining the normal vision.

A diabetic must go for the regular eye checkup so that the early stages of diabetic retinopathy can be detected and treated in initial stages itself, with less harm to the eyes. Blood sugar levels should also be monitored and maintained to prevent blood vessel damage.

Diabetes affects different body parts of a person including skin. The skin disorders can be seen in normal individual too, but diabetics are more frequently prone to it. Fortunately, most of the skin infections can easily be controlled if detected in early stages. Infection can be bacterial, fungal or simple itching. Some of the specific skin infections frequently seen in the diabetic patients are Dermopathy, Necrobiosis lipoidica, Diabeticorum, Xanthomatosis and Blisters.

Diabetes Skin Infections:

Bacterial infections :- Bacterial infections are more commonly seen in people with diabetes than in normal individuals. Styes - Infection of glands and eyelids, Boils and hair follicles infections, skin and tissue are affected by carbuncles. These infections are spread by few bacterial germs but the most common is Staphylococcus bacteria.

Fungal infections :- Candida-albicans is the yeast-like fungus, responsible for red sore skin with frequent sense of itching and developing into blisters and scales. These patchy infections usually appear at skin folding, where moisture is persisting for longer period, like armpits and groin, under the foreskin, under breast, finger and toes-nail (onychomycosis), in the mouth (thrush), in the vagina etc. Some of the known fungal infections are athlete's foot, ring worms and jock itch.

Itching :- Itching may result from poor blood circulation, dry skin, or any kind of bacterial and viral infection, mostly observed in lower extremities. Wiping your body till completely dry and using good moisturizing agent are the suggestive steps to manage simple itching.

Diabetic Dermopathy
:- Dermopathy shows skin changes occurring in diabetics due to affected blood vessels (i.e. oval to circular), slightly indented dry brown to purple and scaly patches. When zinc doses are administered for several weeks it appears to help the lesions resolve over several months, especially when combined with near normal blood sugars.

Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum :- Necrobiosis Lipodica Diabecicorum (NLD) seems similar to dermopathy, but it is more worst than the latter, as it penetrates deeply into the skin, making the spots red with a well defined purple line. See your doctor at right time or else it may crack or break.

Xanthomatosis, Sclerosis and Diabetic blisters :- High blood sugar aggravates these conditions; xanthomatosis is slight yellowish pea like pigmentation in feet, arms, legs, hands, buttocks etc. In sclerosis, skin of toe, forehead, hands becomes thick and waxy, and stiffness in the joints is observed. Sometimes painless diabetic blisters erupt in the fingers, toes, hands, forehands and feet look like burned sores. These are commonly seen in overweight, type 1 diabetic, and revert back to normal as soon as blood sugar is controlled out.

Disseminated Granuloma Annulare :- Sharp well define ring or arc shape raised area of skin is seen, then it is nothing but disseminated granuloma annulare. The common body parts where it can be seen are on the fingers or ears.

Acanthosis nigricans :- This is the condition, in which brown tanned patches appear in different parts of the body like neck, armpits and groin, hands, elbow and knees. This is usually seen in the people with overweight; especially women are more likely to be caught with this.

Allergic Reactions :- Visible allergic reaction in the area of skin is examined when insulin is injected and, it may develop rashes.


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