Diabetes Complications

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 11,089
    Dr. Clare Bradley, Chief Medical Officer of IPRO, discusses the health complications associated with diabetes.

    Dr. Clare Bradley: Hello! I'm Dr. Clare Bradley, Chief Medical Officer of IPRO. Today we're talking about diabetes and now I want to talk about the complications caused by diabetes.

    All of the complications of diabetes maybe prevented by keeping blood sugars within an acceptable range and by keeping scheduled appointments with your healthcare specialists.

    The acceptable blood sugar range is 70-130 mg per Deciliter before a meal and less than 180 mg per deciliter two hours after a meal.

    There are two overall types of diabetes complications, microvascular and macrovascular. Microvascular complications affect the small arteries, the capillaries, which are the smallest blood vessels that connect arteries and veins and the nerves such as those found in the eyes, kidney, feet, skin, and stomach.

    Damage to the retina, a part of the eye is known as retinopathy. Symptoms of retinopathy include problems when reading, blurred vision, seeing halos around lights, seeing dark spots or light flashes.

    Damage from retinopathy can be prevented by having annual dilated eye exams done by an eye specialist, such as an ophthalmologist and having identified problems treated early.

    Retinopathy left untreated can lead to blindness. The risk of developing both cataracts and glaucoma is also higher for the people with diabetes.

    Damage to the kidney is known as nephropathy. With nephropathy the kidney cannot adequately eliminate waste in the urine. This leads to retention of fluid in the body contributing to high blood pressure. Dialysis may be necessary to filter the access fluid and waste because of kidney insufficiency or failure.

    Diabetes can also cause infections of the feet and skin. This is because wounds heal slower. In some cases, wounds on the feet if left untreated can lead to foot ulcers and in some cases require amputation.

    Damage to the nerves is known as neuropathy. With neuropathy you may feel tingling, numbness or pain in the lower extremities, feet, or hands. Neuropathy may affect other parts of the body such as the digestive tract or urinary tract. This can cause delayed gastric or stomach emptying or incomplete bladder emptying which can cause bladder or urinary tract infections.

    The second type of diabetes complication is called Macrovascular. This is damage to the large arteries such as the carotid artery and aorta as well as internal organs and the brain.

    These macrovascular affects can include damage to the heart and to the circulatory system leading to heart disease or stroke.

    Symptoms of macrovascular complications include dizziness, difficulty speaking, weakness in the legs and arms, chest pain or pressure, irregular heartbeat and swollen ankles.

    Dr. Carlos F. Driggs: Diabetes in reality is probably the most single devastating disease. It causes retinopathy, it causes nephropathy, it causes neuropathy, which means it involve the kidney, the eye, it involves all the nerves in your body. And when you talk about neuropathy, we think about the lower extremities. But every single nerve in the body could be involved in diabetes.

    Dr. Clare Bradley: If you want to learn more about diabetes check out our other videos including treatment options.