What is Diabetes Mellitus?
The Carbohydrates are broken down into simple, smaller sugar molecules in our digestive tract. The absorption of these compounds causes an elevation of the blood glucose levels. The elevated blood glucose levels can be dangerous; this is why our body is gifted by nature with the mechanism to keep this from happening. It does so by secretion of a chemical substance called insulin from a specialized gland in our body called pancreas. This is where the problem lies in the case of diabetics. They are unable to produce an adequate amount of insulin, resulting in an abnormal elevation of the blood glucose levels, and thus the symptoms of DM.
What are the Long-term Complications of Diabetes Mellitus?
The long-term complications occur mainly due to the damage to the blood vessels with the manifestations depending upon the area in which the blood vessels are damaged. For instance, damage to the blood vessels supplying the eye will cause vision problems while damage to the vessels supplying the heart will cause a heart attack. These complications occurring in the settings of diabetes mellitus can be divided into two categories depending upon the size of the blood vessels involved.
- Complications occurring due to damage to small blood vessels
They are also referred to as micro-vascular complications that are found to involve nerves (neurological disorders), eyes and kidneys.
- Complications occurring due to damage to Large Blood Vessels
They are also referred to as macro-vascular complications and include conditions such as heart attack and peripheral vascular disease.
Complications of DM involving nerves:
- Damage to the sensory nerves carrying the sensations from the peripheries of your body i.e. arms and legs to our brain is the most common type of neurological problem observed with DM. It is also referred to as gloves and stocking neuropathy as it usually manifests as decrease/loss of sensations or tingling sensations in the hands and feet, the areas where we wear gloves and stockings respectively.
- Damage can also occur to the motor nerves i.e. the nerves responsible for carrying the order from the brain to the parts of the body to perform its desired function. Thus, due to damage a nerve responsible for the movements of hand at the wrist joint you will no longer be able to perform extension at the wrist joint. The hand will lay flaccid, hanging at the wrist joint. Similarly, a nerve responsible for the movement of the foot may be involved, leaving you unable to lift the foot up.
- Intact nerve supply is what enables us to lift the eyelids up so that we can see whatever we want to. DM can damage the nerve responsible for it causing eyelids to droop permanently, thereby interfering with the vision.
- Intact nerve supply to the penis is necessary for a male to attain an erection sufficient enough to participate in sexual activity. These nerves can also be damaged in the settings of DM, leaving one unable to attain an erection, thus adding misery to one’s life
Do you suffer from diabetes? Come to Century Medical and Dental Center (Downtown Brooklyn, Gravesend, and Flatbush) and talk to one of our doctors today.