Most diabetics seldom realize or care about the dangers of diabetes, that is until it is too late. The dreaded “slow killer” not only brings in mortality (which considering the other consequences may even be a welcome relief) but continuous pain, suffering and stealthily progressing debilitating diseases like poly-neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, chronic renal failure and more.
Our effort is to try to educate you about the hidden dangers of diabetes, dangers which many doctors wouldn’t even care to explain to you until it is too late to bring you any relief. You need to know and you need to know well about the dangers of diabetes so that you can aggressively take care of yourself and your loved ones.
For starters, did you know that people with diabetes have at least 10 years shorter life span than the non-diabetics?
We will discuss about Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus which is also known as IDDM or Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, an autoimmune disease resulting in the destruction of insulin producing cells. Previously it was also known as juvenile diabetes as it affected mostly the young people, but that distinction has mostly been discarded in favor of IDDM.
Diabetes Mellitus has been broadly categorized into two classes: type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 : This type of diabetes is typical with children and adults, earlier known as juvenile diabetes. However, recent researches reveal that type 1 diabetes is not restricted to a certain age. Typically, in people with type 1 diabetes the pancreas are unable to produce the insulin hormone. It is this insulin that breaks down glucose(sugar) and starches to produce energy that we use in our daily lives. Due to lack of insulin, sugar builds up in the blood and at a certain point it rises above the normal level causing high blood pressure over time. This increases the risk of damage to nerves and blood vessels throughout the body affecting the heart, kidney, eye, blood vessels and nerves.
There is a list of potentially threatening diseases associated with type 1 diabetes. These diseases can be irreversible and in certain cases life-threatening. If you a victim or a probable victim, you need to know your enemy better. Lets deal with the top 10 Hidden Dangers of type 1 diabetes:
One of the most threatening disorders associated with diabetes type 1 is Neuropathy. It reduces as well as distorts the nerve function. Actually, neuropathy is a group of disorders that affects the nerves. There are mainly two types of neuropathy - peripheral and automatic. Peripheral neuropathy due to diabetes is known to affect the nerves in arms, hand, toes and feet. Automatic diabetic neuropathy affects the nerves that regulate heart, digestive system, bowel, bladder and sexual function.
Type 1 is known to aggravates the progress of atherosclerosis. This disorder is essentially characterized by hardening of the arteries. Diabetes causes hyperglycemia(excessive glucose secretion) that damages the arteries. Thickening the walls of arteries and making them less elastic. This reduces the flow of blood through the vessels. Eventually, this makes the victims of atherosclerosis highly vulnerable to heart attacks, causing blockages within the coronary arteries. Further, atherosclerosis retards the blood flow to the brain and increases the risk of stroke in turn.
3. Sexual dysfunction
Type 1 diabetes can ruin ones sexual life completely. Both men and women with diabetes experience a decline in sexual drive. Essentially nerve and vascular damage due to diabetes are responsible for erectile dysfunction and impotence. Additionally, in a majority of cases, diabetes is associated with anxiety, stress and depression. This in turn affects the libido and performance.
One of the most serious complications that occurs due to type 1 diabetes includes kidney disease. It damages the tiny filters in the kidney known as glomeruli that leak protein into the urine. With time this might to kidney failure. Further, diabetic nephropathy serves to be one of the major causes of end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Small blood vessels throughout the entire body are destroyed due to type 1 diabetes. This reduces the normal blood flow.
This causes the retina (in the back of the eye) to bulge into pouches. At the primary stage that is nonproliferative retinopathy, the vision is not affected. However, with time it can develop into a menacing disease called proliferative retinopathy. This occurs when the blood vessels are damaged and are replaced by new but relatively weaker vessels. Often these new blood vessels leak blood, which blurs the vision. Moreover, it can also lead to scarring of tissues and distortion of retina, and eventually loss of vision.
6. Failing immune system
Most importantly diabetes affects the immune system of the body adversely. This reduces the body’s ability to fight infections. In due course of time, small infections grow into large proportions causing death of skin and other tissues. Consequently, it might result in amputation of organs.
7. Risk of Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
Type 1 diabetes can be responsible for life-threatening complications - Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Usually this process is triggered in diabetics in stressful conditions such as urinary tract infections or pneumonia. Low levels of insulin causes excessive amounts of glucose in the bloodstream. This aggravates the production of fatty acids. Further, these fatty acids gives rise to chemicals known as ketone bodies. Higher levels of ketone are toxic and may lead to the several complications that include nausea and vomiting; breathing deeply and rapidly; brain swelling or cerebral edema. DKA might also lead to some serious disorders like adult respiratory distress syndrome . In case the condition is prolonged, patient may move to coma and consequently die.
People with type 1 diabetes might experience serious foot problems. They are highly vulnerable to leg or foot amputation. Most of the type 1 diabetic suffer from artery diseases. Blockages in arteries reduces the flow of blood to the feet. Foot ulcers are developed from the infections occurring due to blood vessel injury. Further, there are those who also suffer from peripherial neuropathy that reduces the sensation. These two diseases together causes ulcers and infections that eventually lead to amputation.
9. Decline in brain tissues
Not much has been discussed about effects of diabetes on brain. Type 1 diabetes is known to cause a decline in the brain tissues. Further, studies reveal that the type 1 diabetic are highly prone to cognitive problems of abstract reasoning, memory and attention. Researches have shown that this type of diabetes can be linked with dementia or even Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Risk of cancer
Although, Type 2 cancer is widely related to pancreatic cancer, recent studies have exposed a relation between type 1 diabetes and this type of cancer. The probability of pancreatic cancer with victims of type 1 diabetic is higher than the non-diabetics.
In order to prevent the hidden dangers associated with type 1 diabetes diagnosis is very important. Currently, there are no clinically effective preventive measures to counter type 1 diabetes. However, investigation for a proposed vaccine and anti-antibody approaches are being considered.
Filed under Diabetes, Diabetes awareenss, Diabetic Cancer, Heart, IDDM, Insulin, Kidney | Tags: dangers of diabetes, Diabetes diagnosis, Diabetes mellitus, IDDM, Juvenile Diabetes, type 1 diabetes | 2 Comments