Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide. While it is manageable with medication and a healthy lifestyle, it can still take a toll on daily life. This article will explore how diabetes affects the body and what steps can be taken to manage the disease.
What are the long-term effects of diabetes?
Some of the long-term effects of diabetes include damage to the small blood vessels which might result in kidney problems, eyes, and nerves (microvascular complications).
Diabetes can also damage the large blood vessels causing complications to the heart, legs, and brain.
The digestive system, the skin, sexual organs, teeth, gums, as well as the immune system are not excluded when we talk about how diabetes affects the body.
What are the 10 warning signs of diabetes?
Warning signs of diabetes can be easy to miss. That’s because early symptoms of the disease can seem like nothing more than normal day-to-day problems.
But if you pay attention to your body, you can catch diabetes before it becomes a serious health problem.
Here are some warning signs of diabetes:
1. Feeling very thirsty all the time
2. Feeling very tired all the time
3. Losing weight without trying to
4. Blurry vision
5. Slow healing cuts and bruises
6. Frequent infections
7. Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
8. Recurring skin, gum, or bladder infections
9. Darkening skin around your neck or in your armpits
10. Sexual dysfunction in men and women
If you have any of these symptoms, booking a doctor’s appointment is very necessary. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent diabetes from causing serious health problems down the road.
What are the body systems affected by diabetes?
There are different ways how diabetes affects the body system. When blood sugar levels are too high, it can damage the blood vessels and nerves. This can lead to problems like blindness, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Some of the organs that can be affected by diabetes include;
- Nervous system
How diabetes affects the kidneys
The risk of nephropathy (kidney disease) is greater for people with diabetes. this is due to small blood vessels in the kidney.
It is very hard to notice kidney disease until it’s advanced, which is why you must always go for screening.
A test for microalbumin (a small amount of protein in the urine) can be used to detect kidney damage. nephropathy can be prevented or slowed if discovered early and with the right medication.
Your doctor might recommend a medicine called ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptors. they can help to prevent further damage to the kidney and they are also used in the treatment of high blood pressure.
How diabetes affects the Heart
diabetes contributes to hypertension which is the primary risk factor for heart attack and cardiovascular disease.
The risk of cardiovascular disease is much higher for people with diabetes and high blood pressure. having a family history of cardiovascular disease, smoking, and being inactive can also be a major risk.
A few things you can do to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease include;
- Have your HbA1c test checked at least once every year. Adapting to the right lifestyle to help lower your A1c naturally can be a bonus factor.
- Have your blood pressure checked at least every six months. You should have your doctor recommend the right medication that will help keep your blood pressure low.
- Have your cholesterol checked once every year.
How diabetes affects the Eyes
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the complications of diabetes. Retinopathy occurs when the blood vessel in the retina starts swelling and leaking which eventually affects your vision. There are various stages of retinopathy and the early stage has no symptoms.
Having a full diabetes eye check is necessary for early detection and treatment to avoid further damage.
How diabetes affects the Nerves
Diabetes’ effect on the nerves might be the most serious as the nerves play a major role in the body’s functions.
The nerve damage is oft caused by high blood sugar, drinking a large amount of alcohol, and vitamin B12 deficiency.
When we talk about how diabetes affects the body, we can ignore the fact that it can damage the motor and sensory nerves that control the actions of the body organs.
Some of the ways we can notice neuropathy is;
- Tingling in both hands and feet
- Excessive sweating
- Lack of sexual feelings.
Keeping your blood sugar level at a normal level is one way you can help prevent this damage.
Another way to is cut down on alcohol intake and quit smoking as well.
Finally, you need to talk to your doctor whenever you feel you are having problems with your hands, feet, legs, or stomach.
How diabetes affects the Feet
When the blood vessels both small and large have a reduced amount of blood supplied to them, then peripheral neuropathy occurs. This is a case common to people with diabetes. This sometimes results in problems with foot structure example clawed toes.
When blood supply is reduced, the nerve function can delay healing and there is an increase in infection in the feet. This may also lead to foot structural problems as well as reduced feeling in the feet.
There are a few ways you can handle how diabetes affects the body and your feet.
A good way is to always check your feet every day and look out for blisters, cuts, Tibet, corns, and probably any other noticeable change. With the right treatment on time, you can help combat this complication.
Another great way is using moisturizer on the dry and rough areas of your heels and feet. Using a moisturizer helps with healthy feet.
Finally, protect your feet by wearing comfortable shoes that fit well. Ensure to see a podiatrist at least once a year and know the health of your feet.
Reducing How diabetes affects the body
Diabetes as we all know is not a death sentence. The good news is you can lower the risk associated with how diabetes affects for body no matter how long it has been.
Having regular screening and checkups amongst other things can help identify these problems at an earlier stage. Other things you can do to reduce how diabetes affects your body include;
Maintaining a healthy diet
Healthy diets are important if you have diabetes. You want to cut down on your sugary food intake and balance your diet from varieties of food categories.
Ensure to include meals that are high in fiber and low in unsaturated fats. You can as well consult your doctor to come up with the best diet meal plan for you.
Cut down on alcohol intake
Alcohol intake is generally bad for you if you have diabetes but you are still human and you might want to have that one taste. This is okay but try as much as you can to limit the intake of alcohol especially if you have hypertension alongside diabetes.
Maintaining health weight
It’s quite difficult trying to lose weight but is one way to handle how diabetes affects the body. Maintaining a healthy weight can help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well.
The easiest way to start is by setting short-term goals for yourself, watching the kind of food you consume, if it’s in the right portion and if it’s healthy for you.
Smoking is kind of similar to alcohol but has greater risk factors when it comes to developing diabetes complications.
Smoking limits blood circulation by making small blood vessels narrow and increasing heart rate and hypertension.
When you smoke, the blood vessel walls become sticky and have dangerous fat build-up. This is how you come down with a stroke or heart attack.
It is important to note that smoking can undo all the benefits gained from healthy diets, blood pressure control, and weight loss.
Being physically active is now meat you can control how diabetes affects your body.
You can have moderate-intensity activity for about 30 minutes every day, then work your way up to build duration and intensity for exercise.
Some physical activities you can engage in include swimming, jogging, walking, and probably a gym workout.
If by chance you can’t engage in any of the above activities then you might want to consider chair exercise or probably water aerobics with light weights.
Ensure you check with your doctor as certain health conditions might prevent you from doing certain physical activity. You want to know which one to get into and which one to avoid. Your physiologist will be in the best position to help wit with that.