Doctor Verified

How Diabetes Can Affect Different Parts Of The Body

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects different parts of the body ranging from your eyes, nerves to your heart and kidneys.

Tenzin Chodon
Written by: Tenzin ChodonUpdated at: Apr 12, 2023 09:23 IST
How Diabetes Can Affect Different Parts Of The Body

Malaria & Dengue Day 2023: Fever Causes, Symptoms and Prevention Guide - Onlymyhealth

When your body fails to make enough insulin or is unable to use or process it efficiently, it can lead to high blood glucose. Glucose is a kind of sugar that comes from our food and is converted into energy. Diabetes or diabetes mellitus occurs when the blood sugar levels in your body are too high. The disease can be difficult to detect during the early stages since it can show no symptoms. However, as it progresses, it can lead to several complications, affecting different body parts. 

In conversation with the Only My Health editorial team, Dr Anupam Biswas, Consultant- Endocrinology, Fortis, Noida, talks about how diabetes causes concern in the body. 

Also Read: Hyperglycemia: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Microvascular Vs. Macrovascular Complications

“Diabetes Mellitus, if not under control, can lead to various complications,” shares Dr Biswas. 

He further explains how complications of diabetes are classified into two parts. 

These include microvascular and macrovascular complications. 

Microvascular complications affect the small blood vessels, including retinopathy and neuropathy. On the other hand, macrovascular complications involve large vessels such as Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), and cerebrovascular diseases. Let’s look at these in detail. 

Diabetic Retinopathy

According to Dr Biswas, diabetic retinopathy is among the leading causes of blindness across the globe. It includes a progression from nonproliferative, also known as early diabetic retinopathy, to the more severe form of proliferative diabetic retinopathy, also called advanced diabetic retinopathy. Symptoms often include:

- Spots or dark strings in the vision, also called floaters.

- Fluctuating vision

- Blurred vision

- Vision loss

It can also lead to the development of diabetic macular oedema, cataracts, and glaucoma, and hence, all diabetic patients should undergo a yearly eye examination. 

Diabetic Neuropathy 

Diabetic neuropathy leads to damage to the nerves and can present with symptoms such as:

- Tingling

- Burning

- Sharp pain

- Numbness 

It can also lead to severe complications such as muscle weakness, infection, ulceration and even amputation. 

Also Read: 6 Things That Can Cause Blood Sugar Levels To Spike

Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy is among the top risk factors for chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis and/or kidney transplant. It occurs when uncontrolled diabetes causes damage to the blood vessel clusters in the kidneys, which help process and filter out waste from the blood. Some of the symptoms include:

- Protein in the urine

- Swelling of feet, ankles, hands and eyes

- Increased urge to urinate

- Poorly controlled blood pressure

- Digestive issues such as nausea, loss of appetite and vomiting

Diabetes Can Be A Big Risk Factor For Other Illnesses

Uncontrolled diabetes or high blood sugar levels in the body can lead to several problems. According to Dr Biswas, it can cause an increase in the risk of Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), heart failure, Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), and stroke. To avoid these complications, it is essential to check your blood sugar levels. Therefore, getting regular tests, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and paying attention to our diet is paramount.