Problems with Diabetes

Diabetes can effect many different areas of your body, leading to many complications. The better you are able to control you blood glucose concentration, the less likely it is that you will develop any serious problems. However, it is still necessary that you understand some of the complications that can arise from your diabetes and what can be done to help.

Risk of Infections due to Diabetes

When you are unable to control your blood sugar levels as well as would be liked, you are at an increased risk of developing a number of infections in specific areas. These are:

  • Skin infections, particularly staphylococci
  • Gastrointestinal infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Respiratory infections such as pneumonia

The main reason for the increased risk of infections is that the high concentration of glucose within your blood stops your immune cells from working as well as they normally would. To help combat this, during an infection or illness you may need to increase your insulin dose by up to 25%. This can help to lower your blood sugar allowing your immune system to function properly.

Depression & Diabetes

Studies have shown that sufferers of diabetes are up to twice as likely to develop depressive symptoms than the normal population. If you suffer from the condition you are also more likely to develop memory problems such as dementia, particularly if you have type 2 diabetes. Both depression and memory problems can stem from high blood glucose, which suggests that controlling your blood glucose can help prevent these from occurring.

Other problems you may experience when you have diabetes are:

  • Loss of bone density
  • Hearing loss
  • Problems with your teeth
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Colorectal cancer

Loss of Bone Density

Loss of bone density is a problem you may encounter if you suffer from type 1 diabetes. This may increase your risk of breaking a bone and also developing osteoporosis. This can be treated by using drugs called bisphosphonates which can help to strengthen your bones. If you have type 2 diabetes, your bone density actually increases, so you are not at as much of a risk of fracturing your bones.

Urinary Tract Infections

If you are female and suffer from diabetes, you are at a greater risk of developing urinary tract infections compared to males.

Teenagers with Diabetes

It has also been found that teenagers who have the condition have higher rates of suicidal ideation than the general population.  Alongside this, teenagers were also found to have poorer blood sugar control than their adult counterparts, exposing them to a higher risk of becoming ketoacidotic. One thing to be aware of if your child has type 1 diabetes and uses insulin is that it is estimated around 30% of teenage female diabetics abuse insulin to help them lose weight.

If you are worried about any of the complications that can arise from diabetes, please consult your specialist or GP who will be able to discuss them with you and help reassure you.

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