It is always better to know and prevent a disease than to have it. This article discusses the complications of diabetes. One can avoid these complications by the yearly (or half-yearly) checkup of eyes, kidney, heart and feet by the qualified specialists so that these complications, if present, can be diagnosed at an early stage and effectively treated before it becomes too late.
Acute Complications of Diabetes
Hypoglycemia – Hypoglycemia is defined as a condition in which there is blood glucose concentration of less than 45 mg/dl. Sweating, trembling, hunger, confusion drowsiness, in-coordination and nausea are some of the symptoms of hypoglycemia.
The common causes are unpunctual or inadequate meals, unexpected or unusual exercise and ingestion of alcohol. Patients should be taught that if unusual exercise is anticipated the preceding dose of insulin should be reduced and extra carbohydrate ingested. All patients taking insulin should carry with them glucose tablets.
Ketoacidosis – Any form of stress, particularly an acute infection or neglect of treatment due to carelessness can lead to ketoacidosis. There is intense thirst and polyuria. Constipation, muscle cramps and altered vision are common. Hyperventilation with low blood pressure and acetone may be smelt in the breath and finally it may lead to coma. Glycosuria and ketonuria would be present. Blood glucose levels may be as high as 360-720 mg/dl and low plasma bicarbonate and blood pH.
The condition should be treated with the utmost urgency in hospital. Intravenous fluid replacement is required since, even when the patient is able to swallow, fluids given by mouth may be poorly absorbed. If 6 to 8 units of insulin per hour is given, blood glucose level comes down. 13-20 mMol of potassium per 0.51 infusion fluid should be started from the outset.
Intracellular fluid is replaced once the blood glucose has fallen below 250 mg/dl by infusing glucose solution. Intensive medical care is needed and the blood glucose, pH, electrolytes and ketones have to be monitored, hourly at first.
Long Term Complications of Diabetes
A diabetic person cannot make normal use of sugar, and so sugar builds up in the blood. The kidneys discharge some of the excess sugar in the urine. In severe cases of diabetes, fats and proteins cannot also be used normally.
The type 1 diabetes strikes some people so suddenly that the lack of insulin causes an emergency condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. There is excess urination, thirst, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting and difficulty in breathing. If the patient is not treated promptly, he may go into diabetic coma with fatal results.
In type 2 diabetes, the patient has normal or even above normal production of insulin. But their bodies do not respond efficiently to the insulin. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are excessive urination, great thirst, hunger and loss of weight and strength.
Complications of Diabetes
It is very important to take care of diabetes as improper care can give rise to several complications. If the blood sugar level is kept under control, one can prevent many health problems. Many people come to know of their diabetes only when they develop one of its complications.
1. The structural and functional abnormalities of diabetic complications are the glycation of structural proteins and the production of advanced glycation end products with their deposition in various tissues.
2. Most patients with type 2 diabetes also tends to be obese and hypertensive.
3. Angina is a long term complication of diabetes.
4. Difficulty in walking with chronic ulceration of feet due to diabetic neuropathy and also diabetic microangiopathy and diabetic nephropathy due to small blood vessel disease.
5. Diabetic patients are at higher risk of developing atheroscelerosis.
6. Wound healing is delayed in diabetics because of neuropathy, and hyperglycaemia.
7. Intermittent claudication and gangrene due to atherosclerosis.
8. Blindness due to diabetic retinopathy
9. Diabetes affects the blood vessels, the blood and the heart.
10. Cardiac failure is also another long term complication of diabetes.
I hope this article has covered some of the long term complications of diabetes. Knowing these complications will help you to prevent them.
Control your blood glucose level for more controlled life!