How Does Diabetes Affect the Digestive System?
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have been living with the disease for a while, you’re more than likely familiar with possible complications, like kidney disease, vision loss, and even amputations. But it’s important to note that poorly controlled type 2 diabetes can also affect other parts of your body, including your digestive system, and that the longer you’ve lived with diabetes, the more likely it may be that you could experience these types of problems.
In fact, some research suggests 75 percent of people visiting diabetes clinics report having significant gastrointestinal symptoms.
How Diabetic Neuropathy Can Lead to Heartburn and Other Issues
So how might diabetes affect the digestive system? “Advanced diabetes, whether it’s from type 1 or type 2 diabetes, can affect any organ in the body — including those organs in the digestive tract,” says James C. Reynolds, MD, a gastroenterology specialist and clinical medicine professor at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Dr. Reynolds notes digestive problems may be caused by the very factors that led to diabetes in the first place, such as obesity, but it’s also possible that digestive problems are the result of diabetes-related complications, such as hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar.
One of the most serious diabetes complications that can result from consistent high blood sugar is diabetic neuropathy, or nerve damage. Neuropathy may lead to weakness, pain, and numbness, affecting feeling in your feet, legs, and hands, but the condition can also affect digestive functions l Continue reading