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.
Long-term Complications of Diabetes Mellitus
The underlying mechanism responsible for the long-term complications occurring in the settings of DM is damage to the blood vessels, and depending upon the size of the vessel involved these complications can be divided into two types.
- Complications occurring secondary to damage to small blood vessels: They include damage to nerves, eyes, and kidneys.
- Complications occurring secondary to damage to large blood vessels: They include conditions such as myocardial infarction or heart attack and peripheral vascular disease.
Complications of Diabetes Mellitus Involving Kidneys
- It is estimated that Diabetes Mellitus is the number one cause of end-stage kidney diseases and thus dialysis in the western world in general and the United States in particular.
- The main purpose of our kidneys is to filter the waste products from the blood so that we can get rid of these harmful substances. To do this kidneys filter the blood via very tiny, minute small blood vessels. These vessels become damaged in the settings of Diabetes Mellitus, thereby interfering with the whole filtration function of the kidneys.
- The elevated blood glucose levels seen in the settings of Diabetes Mellitus are found to be responsible for the damage to the kidneys; however, how exactly it does so is poorly understood at the moment.
- Normally the urine produced is free of any proteins. Any damage to the kidneys results in leakage of proteins in the urine. Initially, the quantity is minute however, if the patient has had an uncontrolled DM, the number of proteins in the urine could be high. Thus to check out the functional status of a diabetic patient a doctor may advise off and on examination of urine.
- The risk of developing damage to the kidneys is markedly elevated in patients who smoke or have high blood pressure and high blood lipid levels.
Complications of Diabetes Mellitus Involving Eye
- DM is believed to be a leading cause of blindness in middle-aged patients in the United States as well as the rest of the world.
- It is thought that an elevated blood glucose levels for a prolonged period of time signals the formation of new blood vessels in the retina, the area of the eyes that receives visual impulses, converts them to the electrical signals and sends them to the brain which interprets them and helps us visually perceive the things. The main problem here is that these newly formed vessels are friable. They are weak and are prone to rupture and if by chance it happens, bleeding occurs in the retina, damaging it and thus impairing the vision. This is why a patient with diabetes is always advised to visit an eye doctor on a regular basis, usually every year.
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.