The number of people suffering from diabetes worldwide has risen to 422 million (according to current yearly statistics) as compared to 108 million in the year 1980. These statistics display an exponential rise in the number of patients suffering from diabetes, which is a major cause of concern.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body is unable to appropriately utilize the insulin produced by the body or the body’s insulin production itself is problematic. This in turn affects the process of utilizing the body’s glucose in order to produce the energy required to carry out the day-to-day functioning of the body. Hampering this energy production results in high levels of blood sugar in the body. This rise in blood sugar further leads to the narrowing and constricting of blood vessels, especially the blood vessels that are thin and delicate, sometimes even leading to clogging. This adverse effect of diabetes can further lead to other serious complications.
For instance, the narrowing of the blood vessels owing to high sugar levels can severely affect the delicate vessels supplying blood to the eye, thus leading to problems with vision including cataract and glaucoma, which might even lead to blindness. That is the reason why diabetic patients are advised to get eye checkups done on a regular basis, every year from the time of detection of diabetes.
High blood sugar levels can even damage the nerves of the body, leading to a condition known as diabetic neuropathy. Many diabetic patients might not be able to recognize any symptoms of this condition while others might feel sensations of tingling, or even loss of any feeling or sensation in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. The numbness and loss of normal pain signals to the brain can sometimes cause severe complications, especially of the leg, such as blisters and ulcers. In extreme conditions, the leg might also need to be amputated. These conditions are difficult to spot as diabetic patients do not feel the pain. That is why patients are advised to have leg examinations carried out every year without fail.
The adverse effect that diabetes has on the arteries also leads to atherosclerosis—a condition in which the arteries become narrower. Atherosclerosis in turn leads to cardiovascular problems as well as hypertension. Thus, it is a common observation that those suffering from diabetes are more prone to hypertension and high blood pressure conditions. If untreated, this hypertension can even lead to stroke, kidney failure, heart attack, and also heart failure. Thus, diabetic patients need to take precautions against high blood pressure and cholesterol.
In recent years, diabetes patients had been advised by their doctors to take a low dose of aspirin to prevent cases of heart disease. Diabetes patients were at greater risk of developing heart ailments and aspirin seemed to lower the risk.
However, according to recent studies, it has been found that aspirin has certain side effects, including bleeding in the stomach. Thus, patients (women under 60 and men under 50) who otherwise have had no heart problems should not follow the low-dose aspirin therapy.
These are some of the precautions diabetic patients need to take along with following the right diet and exercising.