Daily insulin injections are a distant memory for Catherine Downs now...
In fact, the 56-year old diabetic has almost forgotten she ever had full-blown type II diabetes.
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And some of these diabetes side effects are scary.
For example, did you know diabetics have increased risks of organ damage, accelerated ageing, neuropathy (nerve damage), retinopathy (damage to the retina of the eye), heart disease, cataracts, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and vascular disease?
Today we turn to the health experts behind 7 Ways to Defeat Diabetes Without A Single Drug to explore why…
Why do diabetes side effects affect your organs, nerves and eyes?
Diabetes side effect #1: Organ damage
Scientists have identified two main precursors that lead to diabetes-related organ damage.
The first is the accumulation of sorbitol in certain tissues and organs.
Your body makes sorbitol (the same compound used in “sugarless” gum) from glucose (sugar). When you have elevated sugar levels inside your cells, your body produces sorbitol faster than it can be broken down.
Since sorbitol can’t cross cell membranes, it builds up inside the cells. The accumulated sorbitol draws water into the cells by the process known as osmosis. This causes swelling, which results in tissue damage.
The other reaction health experts believe causes organ damage in diabetics is glycosylation or the “browning reaction”.
This reaction occurs when sugar molecules bind to protein molecules, which then turn brown. In the body, this leads to tissue damage and premature ageing.
Although glycosylation occurs in all human beings, it takes place at a faster rate in people who have elevated blood sugar levels.
Diabetes side effect #2: Neuropathy
Neuropathy involves any and all malfunctions and diseases that relate to the nerves.
Diabetic neuropathy can cause severe pain, tingling, numbness and weakness to any part of the body, but especially to the extremities. Nerve damage caused by diabetes can also lead to problems with the digestive tract, heart and sexual organs, causing
indigestion, diarrhoea or constipation, dizziness, bladder infections and impotence.
While science can’t tell exactly what causes diabetic neuropathy, several factors contribute to this disorder. High blood glucose causes chemical changes in nerves. These changes impair the nerves’ ability to transmit signals. High blood glucose also damages blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves.
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Diabetes side effect #3: Retinopathy
Diabetes weakens the retinal blood vessels and restricts circulation. This causes a depleted supply of oxygen to the retina – the screen of nerves at the back of the eye that helps to send images to the brain. New blood vessels form to carry oxygen to the oxygen-deprived parts.
At first, they appear as small protrusions in the vessel walls. If, however, they’re left untreated, they can multiply and form a delicate web of new vessels that are liable to rupture, causing haemorrhaging that can lead to severe loss of vision.
Diabetes side effect #4: Heart disease
Diabetics are at increased risk for developing heart disease. Several of the factors mentioned above contribute to this, including damage caused by sorbitol and glycosylation as well as weakening of blood vessels and arteries.
There you go. If you think elevated blood sugar is nothing to worry about. Think again! There are several severe complications of diabetes this makes you susceptible. Get yours under control today, to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.