All you need to know about Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder that occurs due to the body’s inability to effectively regulate glucose. The long duration of poorly controlled hyperglycemia can be associated with serious complications that call for disciplined self-care, regular screening, and continuous medical management.
A Global epidemic with an alarming situation in India
With 77 million Diabetics, a steadily increasing prediabetes cases, 42% undiagnosed cases (not aware of disease), and a higher proclivity of Indians towards diabetes owing to genetic factors, dietary imbalances, or increasing sedentary lifestyle, India is now the World Capital for Diabetes. Nearly 254,555 Indians lost their lives in 2019 attributable to complications of diabetes.
What are the complications of diabetes?
Persistently elevated blood glucose levels can instigate changes that may result in damage of tissues and organs over time due to a combination of vascular and non-vascular complications. (Table 1)Table 1: Complication of Diabetes
Vascular complications have a major impact on a patient’s life and are accountable for significant morbidity, hospitalizations, and deaths.
Figure 1: Vascular complications of Diabetes
The most common complications that are usually encountered in people with diabetes are
- Heart problems: The major cause of death in diabetics is due to Cardiovascular disease (which affects the heart & and blood vessels). The concomitant presence of high blood pressure and high cholesterol increases the risk of heart attack or stroke
- Foot problems: Sores/cuts that don’t heal fast due to poor blood supply and nerve damage can cause gangrene/amputation. Diabetics need to be aware of wounds. The damage to the nerve (Diabetic Neuropathy) can cause tingling and numbness in the leg, burning pain in the toe, loss of feeling/weakness in the foot.
- Kidney damage (Diabetic nephropathy): The damage to tiny capillaries in the kidney, can slowly lead to end-stage kidney disease.
- Eye problems (Retinopathy): Diabetes causes damage to capillaries of the retina of the eye causing blood and protein leaks leading to visual impairment and blindness. Also increases the risk of cataracts and glaucoma.
The other complications may include
- Hearing loss, Depression, Memory loss
- Can cause vomiting, diarrhea/constipation, loss of bowel/bladder function, or erectile dysfunction
- Diabetics are more prone to infections, may develop gum inflammations (periodontitis) and skin changes
Management of complications of Diabetes
Strict adherence to medication and lifestyle modifications to achieve tight glucose control along with regular screening for complications (Table 2) is imperative to tackle complications of diabetes.
Table 2: Screening for complications of diabetes
- Disciplined self-care: Need of the hour…
- Avoid stress, sleep well, exercise regularly, eat a low salt, low-fat nutritious diet rich in fruits and vegetables to keep a check on blood pressure, body weight, and cholesterol levels.
- Monitor sugar levels daily and blood pressure regularly
- Quit smoking
- Take care of your foot to avoid damage: Wash feet daily, dry and moisturize them properly, wear well-fitted shoes and check for sores, cuts, corns, or redness daily.
- Keep skin clean, dry, and avoid harsh cosmetics
- Take regular physician consultations for skin/foot/eye examination and to monitor effects of drugs, and lifestyle changes
Diabetes demands a disciplined multidimensional approach to address dreadful complications. Get a high-quality medical consultation at DocOnline for guidance from experienced doctors and stay fit.