DANGERS OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin. Insulin is a hormone which pulls sugar out of the blood; therefore people with Type 2diabetes often have increased blood sugar. High levels of sugar in the blood can lead to dangerous complications as noted below.
Patients with Type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of developing heart disease. Diabetes speeds the process by which cholesterol builds up in the arteries, causing them to harden and become narrower. This then causes blood pressure to increase, which strains the heart. In addition, small bits of cholesterol can break off from larger arteries and move to the smaller arteries that supply the heart and brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke.
Many of the complications of type 2 diabetes stem from the effects of high blood sugar on small blood vessels. High amounts of glucose can clog the small capillaries, which are necessary for carrying blood to sensitive tissues. When these capillaries become clogged due to high levels of glucose, blood flow to some tissues can be harmed. This can lead to poor oxygen flow, which can result in tissue death.
Type 2 diabetes can affect vision. Temporary blurring of vision can be caused by fluid changes in the lens of the eye, which can be the result of high blood sugar. Because the lens works to help focus images, changes in the fluid inside the lens can make it difficult for the eyes to properly focus. Poor blood flow due to damaged capillaries can also affect the retina, which is the portion of the eye that turns light into signals to the brain. This condition, diabetic retinopathy, can lead to blindness.
Another danger of diabetes is damage to the kidneys, which are important for filtering the blood and excreting waste products as urine. High blood sugar and high blood pressure (due to build up of cholesterol) can cause kidney damage or kidneys to fail requiring dialysis or a transplant.
Another hazard of diabetes is damaged nerves. Nerve tissue is very delicate and extremely high blood sugar can cause irreversible nerve damage. This can cause patients to develop tingling or numbness in certain parts of their body, particularly the extremities. Foot wounds are especially dangerous because impaired circulation can also make it difficult for wounds to heal, leading to serious infections.
By: Janet Hunt
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