Health & Wellness News and Tips
Priya K + Follow 23 Nov 2016
Diabetes Complications

Diabetes Complications: Ain’t a relationship status, but can still be complicated.

Diabetes patients need to keep their blood glucose levels under control in order to avoid short and long term complications. Even if diabetes is well under control, it could increase the risk of conditions such as heart diseases. And if it is poorly controlled, it could lead to serious complications. However, diabetes prevention has greatly led to a drop in the rates of five major complications.

Causes of diabetes complications

Consistently high levels of blood glucose could damage the blood vessels. It could also increase the likelihood of them narrowing through atherosclerosis. This damage leads to poor supply of blood to nerves.

Poorly controlled hyperglycaemia persisting for years can lead to complications affecting small and large blood vessels or both. The process by which vascular diseases develop is complex and occurs via numerous pathways that scientists continue to investigate.

Types of complications

Complications caused due to damages in small blood vessels are called microvascular complications. These are the most common complications of diabetes and include:

  • Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is an eye complication caused by disease of the tiny blood vessels supplying the retina. Most people with diabetic retinopathy do not lose their vision, but blindness is nonetheless a risk. The key to prevention is good control over blood sugar levels.
  • Nephropathy: Also known as the kidney or renal disease, it is another complication caused by damage to small blood vessels. Nephropathy is diagnosed by urine test and the primary treatment - as with other diabetes complications - is good control of blood sugar levels.
  • Neuropathy: It is a disease of nerves and is also a complication caused by damage to small blood vessels. In this case, it involves capillaries supplying nerves.

Macrovascular complications are those resulting from damage to large blood vessels. They include:

  • Angina pectoris and heart attack
  • Transient ischemic attacks and strokes
  • Peripheral arterial disease

A number of risk factors in people with diabetes contribute to macro vascular complications are high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, obesity, lack of physical activity, and smoking.

Measures to keep control of glucose levels, in addition to drugs or insulin treatment, include exercise and diet. Additionally, keeping control of blood pressure and lipid levels helps prevent complications of diabetes.

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