10 Unexpected Side Effects and Complications of Diabetes, According to Doctors

If you are told ” diabetes,” your brain is likely to jump to the issue of producing insulin and controlling blood sugar levels. It’s certainly a crucial component of this chronic disease that affects more than one in 10 Americans as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, that’s only the beginning of the problem.

“Diabetes is like termites, in that it causes slow, hidden, but significant damage in the body,” claims Osama Hamdy M.D., Ph.D., director of the Inpatient Diabetes Program at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston. “Most patients with type 2 diabetes die from a heart attack,” Dr. Hamdy says, “but because the disease doesn’t have many symptoms, people tend to take it lightly.”

There is evidence that diabetes can affect all organs of the body, and can cause chaos if it’s not properly controlled. Find out more about the negative effects of diabetes as well as how to safeguard yourself from the pitfalls. (The good news is that most are preventable if you follow the treatment guidelines laid out by your physician.)

1. High blood pressure, cholesterol, and high blood pressure

If you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, the body isn’t able to efficiently utilize insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. As a result, your HDL (or “good”) cholesterol decreases, and the levels of blood fats that are harmful known as triglycerides are elevated. Insulin resistance can also lead to narrow, hardened arteries which, in turn, raises blood pressure.

This means that about 2/3 of those with diabetes also suffer from hypertension, which is a risk factor for heart disease, stroke as well as problems with memory and thinking. Failure to control the blood pressure that is high and cholesterol by or both, by exercising and eating by themselves or with the addition of medications increases the speed of how your other issues develop, according to Robert Gabbay, M.D., Ph.D. the chief medical officer of Joslin the Diabetes Center of Boston.

2 Brain health issues

“It appears that people with diabetes have some abnormalities of blood flow control to the brain,” explains Helena Rodbard, M.D., an endocrinologist who is based in Maryland. “And this appears to be correlated with a more rapid loss of mental function with age,” she adds which includes the ability to organize, plan and remember information and prioritize tasks, be attentive and start tasks.

To ensure your brain’s health You should be active both physically and mentally by logging at least 30 minutes of activity each day and ensuring your brain is stimulated. “Read, socialize, work, and play games that challenge your intellect,” Dr. Rodbard says. “Keep a positive, optimistic attitude–don’t permit yourself to become depressed.”

3 Gum disease

Patients with diabetes are more susceptible to developing periodontal diseases which is the infection of gum and bone that could cause painful chewing issues as well as tooth loss. “This is due in part to elevated blood sugar that modifies the collagen in all of our tissues,” Dr. Rodbard says. “It’s also due to a slight increase in susceptibility to infections of all kinds.”

On the other hand, gum disease–specifically inflammation of the gums or development of deep abscesses–can raise blood sugar and make diabetes harder to control, according to Dr. Hamdy. To avoid developing periodontitis, you should brush and floss regularly and think about applying a mild antiseptic mouthwash to remove any remaining plaque.

4 Sex problems

Many people with diabetes will experience some form of Erectile disorder (ED) during their lives. “ED can be psychological or due to reduced testosterone,” Dr. Hamdy says, noting that testosterone levels are low for people with diabetes, particularly those who are overweight. “However, in patients with a long duration of diabetes, changes in blood vessels and nerve supply to the penis could be the cause.” If you suffer from diabetes, are above 40, and experiencing issues with your male apparatus visit your doctor.

Women in their middle age and older with diabetes may also suffer from sexual problems as per a research study of almost 2,300 women that was published in Obstetrics and Gynecology likely because nerve damage may affect the lubrication process as well as the capacity to get orgasm.

5 Hearing loss

Although we all lose a bit of hearing as getting older the loss of hearing is twice as prevalent for people suffering from diabetes, compared with those who don’t have the disease, according to the CDC. The condition can cause hearing loss through damage to the small blood vessels as well as nerves of the ear’s inner ear according to the CDC states.

The most effective way to safeguard the hearing of your loved ones is to maintain your blood sugar levels within a certain range according to Dr. Rodbard says. In fact, according to the study conducted by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit the older women with uncontrolled diabetes suffered more hearing loss than those of at the same age with healthy control of diabetes. The CDC recommends getting your hearing tested every year and staying clear of other factors that can cause hearing loss such as exposure to loud sounds, whenever possible.

6 Skin infections

Diabetes increases your risk of developing all sorts of skin conditions, including boils, bacterial infections or UTIs, and fungal infections as well as itching. “Fungal infections, especially yeast infections, are so common that they may even be the first sign of diabetes in someone who hasn’t yet been diagnosed,” Dr. Hamdy says.

In certain instances skin conditions can be linked to obesity due to “moist places between skin folds that may breed bacteria and fungi, including candida,” Dr. Rodbard says.

Unfortunately, a number of diabetes-related medications increase the chance of fungal infections in the genital organs according to the doctor. Hamdy says because they increase the excretion of glucose in the urine, thereby promoting the growth of fungus and bacteria. The control of blood sugar levels can help in preventing the occurrence of fungal infections, however, in the event of an infection, look for the most commonly used treatment options that include over-the-counter antifungal vaginal creams and suppositories to be taken according to the directions.

7. Obstructive sleep apnea

This is a potentially dangerous insomnia disorder is caused by the throat muscles are prone to relax and block airways during sleep, is a problem that affects about 50% of people suffering from diabetes Dr. Hamdy says, especially people who are overweight and have a that is larger than 17 for males and 16 for women.

The most prominent indicator of obstructive sleeping apnea (OSA) is audible snoring. Like gum disease, “sleep apnea may worsen diabetes control,” Dr. Hamdy says, possibly due to the fact that both conditions have risk factors in common. Treatment for OSA might require a device to maintain your airway open during the night, or wearing a device that pushes your jaw inward. In extreme instances, surgery could aid in reshaping the shape of the mouth, nose, or throat.

8 Vision issues

Around one in three people who have diabetes over 40 years old suffer from diabetic retinopathy which is damage to the tissue that is sensitive to light in the back of the eye. The reason for this is that elevated blood sugar levels over time affect the delicate eye’s blood vessels. This process could be detected as early as seven years prior to the diagnosis.

The good news is that taking care of these issues early can lower the risk of becoming blind by 95 percent, per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

9 Kidney failure

In time, high blood glucose can cause scarring and thickening of the nephrons, tiny organs in the kidneys which filter your blood. In 7% of times, you’ll notice the protein in your urine leakage–an early indication of kidney issues–by the time you get the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

A majority of people who do not take the necessary steps to manage their diabetes develop kidney damage within 10 years and 40% of them will develop kidney failure, which is a condition that requires dialysis, or even a transplant states Betul Hatipoglu, M.D. an Endocrinologist with Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic.

10 Neuropathy

Around half of those who suffer from type 2 diabetes suffer from neuropathy, which is the most frequent complication of diabetes. In the beginning, you may not feel any symptoms or experience the sensation of a small tingling or numbness in your feet or hands according to Gabbay, Dr. Gabbay. However, eventually, this kind of nerve damage may cause weakness, pain, and digestive problems when it affects the nerves controlling the gastrointestinal tract.

Alongside controlling your blood sugar, staying physically active, eating a balanced diet, and staying on top with the recommended medication regimen will help you avoid neurodegeneration, the NIDDK says.

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