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How Diabetes Impacts Your Body and Overall Health

We hear a lot about how bad diabetes can be, but just how much can it negatively impact your overall health and body?

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where the pancreas creates little to no insulin. Type 2 diabetes is also a chronic condition that is based on how your body processes blood sugar.

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Type 2 diabetes is a common medical condition and is becoming even more common due to people’s changes in lifestyle and diet. Often associated with excess sugar consumption, diabetes is in fact a much more complex condition. It can have a range of contributory risk factors and impacts on your health.

In some cases, it barely affects you in the beginning. While in more serious cases, diabetes can require significant lifestyle changes due to its effects.

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Here’s some ways in which diabetes impacts your body and what steps you can take to mitigate the risks.

Heart Disease

Diabetes is strongly correlated to several conditions affecting your heart.

From heart disease and heart attacks to an increased chance of strokes, diabetes is bad news when it comes to the long-term functioning of your heart. This is because of the damage to blood vessels done by diabetics’ higher glucose sugar levels.

As a diabetic, you are likely to develop heart disease at a younger age than a non-diabetic. Indeed, heart disease and strokes are the leading causes of death amongst diabetics.

Prevention can be difficult, but there are still some steps you can take. As in other areas of diabetic health, lowering blood glucose levels can help. So, treat diabetes at an early stage and make sure you treat it consistently and as effectively as possible. You can also reduce your risk by lessening factors that are generally associated with heart disease.

For example, eat a healthier diet and exercise regularly. Also, cut out other risk factors associated with heart disease and strokes, such as smoking and drinking alcohol.

Loss of Feeling and Foot Damage

A lot of people associate serious diabetes with damaged feet, but few can explain why.

Serious cases of diabetes can affect your feet. This is one example of a wider set of side effects involving the loss of feeling in parts of the body. This is caused by high blood sugar levels that damage the tiny capillaries that transport blood around the far reaches of the body’s nervous system. As those capillaries become damaged, the responsiveness of your nervous system suffers.

Often, this first shows itself with a tingling in the extremities, such as the tips of your fingers or toes. Slowly, this moves further up the nervous system, leading to a foot without feeling.

This may affect not only the feet and hands, but other parts of the body where the operation of nerves is important in performing a certain function. For example, the digestive system may cease working properly if the nerves close to it are affected. That could lead to a range of digestive side effects, from constipation to diarrhea.

It is difficult to stop this sort of development, beyond a general effort to reduce blood sugar levels to stay inside recommended limits.

Eye Damage

The incidence of diabetes leading to blindness is not as high as is sometimes suggested in the media, but it does happen.

As with other side effects of diabetes, the root cause is again the damage to blood vessels caused by blood sugar levels being out of sync with their naturally healthy levels. This can cause them to cease functioning properly or to burst. Over time, this often leads to reduced vision for serious diabetes sufferers. In extreme cases, the endpoint is blindness. But in terms of the numbers of patients affected, reduced vision is a far bigger concern than blindness.

Treating diabetes properly can reduce the chance of blindness by more than 90 percent, according to medical studies. This typically involves proactive management of the condition at the earliest possible stage, focusing on a diet low in sugar and an appropriate exercise regime.

Kidney Damage

A lot of illnesses can result in kidney damage. In some cases, kidney failure is the cause of death, even though the root cause of the problem was a different medical condition.

This is also true of diabetes. The kidney contains numerous tiny blood vessels. Diabetes damages their ability to function properly, which can damage the kidneys. Sometimes, this damage is irreversible.

An approach based on reducing the contributory factors to diabetes, such as excess blood sugar, can also help to reduce the likelihood of kidney problems. In addition, it can be helpful to avoid other factors that put pressure on the functioning of the kidneys, such as a lifestyle high in foods and drinks that the kidneys struggle to dialyse.

Diabetes can cause significant medical effects. The good news is that this does not happen overnight. With a smart approach and discipline, a few simple steps can reduce or delay the medical damage diabetes may impose. Many of the steps are good health practice whether or not you have diabetes. Do you or someone you know have diabetes? Does exercise and a healthy diet help?

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