Effects of diabetes on the body and organs
Over time, the raised blood sugar levels that result from diabetes can cause a wide range of serious health issues. But what do these health issues involve, and how are the organs of the body affected? Can these effects be minimized?
When people have diabetes, the body either does not make enough insulin or cannot use what it has effectively. As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood becomes higher than it should be.
Glucose, or blood sugar, is the main power source for the human body. It comes from the food people eat. The hormone insulin helps the cells of the body convert glucose into fuel.
Fortunately, taking a proactive approach to this chronic disease through medical care, lifestyle changes, and medication can help limit its effects.
Effect on systems and organs
The effects of diabetes can be seen on systems throughout the body, including:
The circulatory system
Diabetes can damage large blood vessels, causing macrovascular disease. It can also damage small blood vessels, causing what is called microvascular disease.
Complications from macrovascular disease include heart attack and stroke. However, macrovascular disease can be prevented by:
Microvascular disease can cause eye, kidney, and nerve problems, but good control of diabetes can help prevent these complications.
The cardiovascular system
Excess blood sugar decreases the elasticity of blood vessels and causes them to narrow, impeding blood flow.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute say diabetes is as big a risk factor for heart disease as smoking or high cholesterol.
According to the Centers for Di