What Does Diabetes Do?

Your doctor (and probably everyone else too) has probably had a talk with you telling what having diabetes is all about.  A lot of the times it’s very helpful and informative. However, in most cases, doctors have to keep up a professional attitude and can’t really say things as bluntly as they want to.

There are some folks that use visits to their doctors as their only way of managing their diabetes. They may be setting themselves up for some serious medical problems in the future. And the kicker is that most of these serious problems are actually preventable early on in the disease.

So What Doe Diabetes Do?

Generally speaking, those with type 1 or 2 diabetes are at much higher risks than the rest of the population for health risks to the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels. This is because diabetes affect all your blood vessels. And it hits the smaller ones in the eyes and kidneys really hard.

However many dangerous health risks can be avoided as long as you carefully control your blood sugar and attempt to avoid rapid changes in your diet. Furthermore, did you know that those with type 2 diabetes can sometimes reverse or at least control these sorts of health changes?

This is done by controlling your diet,  weight, and activity level. All of which you are in direct control of.  Sometimes even making diabetes controllable without oral medication. Did you know that?

Why is Sugar Killing Me?

“So what is actually going on in my body when I have diabetes?”, you ask?

Well, scientifically, in people with diabetes, glucose (sugar/startches) accumulates in the blood to dangerous levels.  It then attaches itself to proteins in the blood vessels thus altering the way they act, look, and function.

One thing that’s happening is it makes blood vessels less elastic and thicker. This actually reduces blood flow and increases your blood pressure. This has a ton of negative effects on your health. Believe it or not the glucose/sugar is acting  more or less like a poison in your body.

All these effects determines how your body operates on the inside. Of all the negative effects it has, one of the easiest things to explain and understand is it’s effect on  your arteries/blood vessels.

You see, the blood or circulatory system is more or less like a pressurized system of hoses and tubes. It transports large quantities of blood all over your body very fast. So, you can see how uncontrolled diabetes can wreak havoc on the whole body because  you have blood vessels all over.

So, let’s look at some of the problems that can be caused.


What Having Diabetes Can Do

Eye Damage

Eye disease from diabetes begins when blood vessels in the eye begin to balloon out because they can’t stretch and begin to leak blood, called retinopathy. The bad thing about this particular type of eye damage is that it can happen without your knowledge because there is no major loss to vision in the early stages.

But, over time, the damage becomes permanent and blood vessels around the eye begin to hemorrhage (leak) blood- sometimes causing blindness. Treatment is made through laser surgery; however whatever damage is done, is done. There’s no going back.


Kidney Disease

The kidneys can become leaky as blood vessels in the kidney start to deteriorate. This is called nephropathy. This leaking allows more protein than normal from the blood to be passed with your urine.

Eventually, these vessels will collapse too and the body compensates by increasing the load on other blood vessels in the kidneys. Then this overload causes these blood vessels to become damaged.  And if the disease progresses enough, a kidney will fail and the person will have to go on dialysis or receive a rare kidney transplant.

Again, just like the eye problem. Once you’re on dialysis, there is no going back. Dialysis generally takes about 4 hours a day to complete and it needs to be done every other day. Think about that for a minute… This is 4 hours out of your day, 3 days a week for the rest of your life. You might as well be in prison. What type of quality of life is that?


Blood Vessels, Nerves, and Circulation

High Blood Sugar damages your blood vessels and can eventually lead to extreme blockage of your arteries. With poorly managed diabetes stuff called “plaque” will form from excess sugar in the blood. You’ve probably heard it called “hardening of the arteries”.

Normally, this hardening is prevented by insulin, which is a naturally produced chemical that forces your blood sugar into your body’s cells where it can be used as energy.

If these cells aren’t able to get the sugar into them, it has no where to go and remains in the blood- stream. This is the build up that leads to blocking of the arteries.

Blocked vessels in the heart will cause heart attacks. While blocked vessels in the legs cause pain and neuropathy. And bloackages in general impair circulation all over, as well as lead to blindness, kidney disease, stroke, heart attack, sores, or even gangrene.

If you notice any of the following systems related to vascular problems, you should immediately go to your local physician to see if you might need help controlling your blood sugar:
– blurry vision
– floating spots in vision
– swelling of limbs or face accompanied with excess weight gain
– foamy urine
– foot sores that don’t heal
– loss of feeling or burning in hands or feet
– pain in legs when walking
– high blood pressure
– chest pain

What You Can Do About Diabetes

But, with proper treatment, diet and exercise, several or all of the risks of vascular diseases can be successfully eliminated or reduced. While diabetes is a very serious disease; it doesn’t have to be frightening or overwhelming.

It’s important to take it one step at a time, and carefully monitor your blood sugar levels and take the incentive your body is giving you to get in shape and get your health under your control again.