It Goes Down in the DM: Part 2
The complications of diabetes are both disabling and can kill you. Simply put, they are a bitch and you don't want any parts of them! So let's see what happens when blood sugar levels remain high in the body over time.
To recap our video, Diabetes causes issues with almost every part of your body - from your brain to your feet.
The heart is a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to our organs and cells, along with waste, to the lungs and kidneys to be removed from our bodies. When you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to have a heart attack because plaque builds up in the blood vessels and narrows them. Eventually this leads to a blockage in the vessels and results in a heart attack. People who survive heart attacks usually develop heart failure- which causes the heart to pump blood to the body ineffectively. Basically our hearts are worn out after a heart attack.
The brain is affected in a similar way. Vessels carrying blood to the brain can become blocked and lead to a stroke. The brain cells that are blocked from oxygen begin to die within minutes. The effects of a stroke depends on the area of the brain that is not receiving blood and things like our arms and legs begin to lose function. You can also have issues with your speech after a stroke. Besides loss of bodily functions, strokes can lead to death.
Our kidneys are the Brita of our bodies. They are our filters and remove waste and extra fluid - this is what we pee out. If sugar levels are high, the kidneys work overtime to get rid of the extra sugar within our bodies. When sugar levels remain high, the kidneys continue to work overtime and this causes them to lose function. This results in kidney failure and dialysis.
Our nerves are also affected by high sugar levels. The nerves are like the text messages of our bodies. They send messages from our brain to our body and messages are sent back from our body to our brain. With high sugar levels, the vessels that supply blood and nutrients to the nerves become damaged. When the nerves are damaged, they can send messages at the wrong time, too slow, or not at all. This results in a loss of sensation (you are unable to feel), numbness, tingling, and pain.
With nerve damage, our most vulnerable body parts are our legs and feet. Sores and ulcers can develop and this can lead to infections. If they are not treated, you are at a greater risk to have your legs and feet amputated. It's important, if you have diabetes, to check your legs and feet daily for sores and cuts.
Lastly, our eyes are also greatly affected by high blood sugar levels. The vessels that feed blood to the eyes become weakened and begin to leak. This leads to poor vision and eventually blindness.
The most important way to slow and prevent diabetes is to control blood sugar levels. This happens by controlling what we eat, getting physical exercise, and controlling weight. Sounds cliche right? Well my friends it is true. But no worries, we will provide you with the tools to help prevent diabetes complications.
Go be great, people!