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How Does Diabetes Affect The Body


What Is Continuous Glucose Monitoring

Diabetes Symptoms & Treatments : How Does Diabetes Affect the Body?

Advancements in technology have given us another way to monitor glucose levels. Continuous glucose monitoring uses a tiny sensor inserted under your skin. You don’t need to prick your finger. Instead, the sensor measures your glucose and can display results anytime during the day or night. Ask your healthcare provider about continuous glucose monitors to see if this is an option for you.

Type 2 Diabetes And Sleep

The two most common types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 and type 2, with type 2 being by far the most common form. About 90-95% of all cases of diabetes are type 2. This occurs when the body doesnt produce enough insulin or is resistant to it. Weight gain, obesity, and inactive lifestyle account for the vast majority of all diabetes cases in the United States, however the disease can be genetic for some.

Type 2 diabetes is sometimes called adult-onset diabetes because it is usually diagnosed in adults. However, this type of diabetes is becoming more common among young adults, teenagers, and even children, in step with the rising issue of childhood obesity.

Several studies have linked poor sleep with weight gain and type 2 diabetes. One reason is because insulin resistance stimulates hunger and can lead to overeating. One study involving about 4,000 participants found that people who got less than 6 hours of sleep were twice as likely to be less sensitive to insulin or be diagnosed with diabetes.


How Taking Insulin Can Affect Metabolism

People with diabetes often need to take insulin to keep blood sugar levels at a normal level. Insulin is usually taken through injections via pens or syringes. You can also take insulin through an insulin pump inserted under your skin.

Another option is inhaled insulin that you breathe in through your lungs. This type of insulin is absorbed quickly and wears off quicker as well 1.5 to 2 hours compared to 4 hours with rapid-acting injectable insulin.

There are of insulin that help keep blood sugar levels stable. A doctor can help you decide which is best for you.

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Taking too much insulin can lead to low blood sugar, which can be potentially life-threatening in severe cases. Going a long time between meals, skipping meals, or exercising can contribute to low blood sugar.

Monitoring your blood sugar level regularly can help you make an informed decision about food and medications. Over time, youll develop a better understanding of how your body responds to certain foods or exercise.


To make taking the right amount of insulin easier, many people count carbohydrates. Eating a high-carb meal, especially one filled with simple carbohydrates, will cause your blood sugar levels to rise more than eating a lower carbohydrate meal, and more insulin is needed to keep your blood sugar at a normal range.

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How Diabetes Affects The Eyes

A relatively common complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy

As with all complications, this condition is brought on by a number of years of poorly controlled or uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy has a number of symptoms

Retinopathy is caused by blood vessels in the back of the eye swelling and leaking. High blood pressure is also a contributing factor for diabetic retinopathy.


Diabetic retinopathy can be treated so its best to catch it as early as you can. The best way to do this is to attend a retinopathy screening appointment, provided free on the NHS, once each year.

How Does Kidney Disease Happen

How the Blood Sugar of Diabetes Affects the Body

Each kidney has about one million tiny filtering units, called nephrons, which contain many blood vessels. Any disease or condition that injures or scars the nephrons and damages their blood vessels can cause kidney disease.

The most common causes of kidney disease are diabetes, hypertension and atherosclerosis . Less common causes include:

  • A genetic disorder called polycystic kidney disease, which causes many cysts to grow in the kidneys
  • Long-term use of certain drugs that are toxic to the kidneys
  • Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

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Heart + Blood Vessels

These face the biggest threat from diabetes. It can be deadly.


Diabetes affects your heart and your whole circulation. That includes small blood vessels in your kidneys, eyes, and nerves, and the big ones that feed your heart and brain and keep you alive.

The damage starts with high blood sugar and insulin levels. This sets off chain reactions that force your body to work harder to correct high blood sugar. But years of diabetes will break down those defenses.

Diabetes changes how the blood vessels in your muscles work. That can weaken your heart, your most important muscle. And if your body cant use or get glucose and nutrients very well, your heart may have problems drawing enough energy. This can put you at risk for heart failure, which is when the heart doesnt pump blood as well as it should.

Plus, you can have inflammation in blood vessels and throughout the body. It can lead to thicker blood and raise the risk of blood clots. Your blood vessels get inflamed and harmful cells may enter their inner lining. The damaged endothelium doesnt expand or relax normally.

On top of that, most people with diabetes also have too much triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, and too little HDL cholesterol. Inflamed blood vessels can trap cholesterol and form plaque, making your arteries harder and narrower. This is called atherosclerosis. The buildup of cholesterol in the arteries lowers blood flow. All of these changes make a heart attack more likely.


What Are Kidneys And What Do They Do

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. Theyre located just below the rib cage against the back muscles, on the left and right sides of the body.

Kidneys have two very important functions: they help the body pass waste as urine, and they help filter blood before sending it back to the heart. They also:

  • Help maintain the balance of minerals and electrolytes in the body, such as calcium, sodium, and potassium
  • Play an essential role in the production of red blood cells
  • Help maintain the delicate acid-base balance of the blood

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How Do Health Care Professionals Diagnose Type 1 Diabetes

Health care professionals usually test people for type 1 diabetes if they have clear-cut diabetes symptoms. Health care professionals most often use the random plasma glucose test to diagnose type 1 diabetes. This blood test measures your blood glucose level at a single point in time. Sometimes health professionals also use the A1C blood test to find out how long someone has had high blood glucose.

Even though these tests can confirm that you have diabetes, they cant identify what type you have. Treatment depends on the type of diabetes, so knowing whether you have type 1 or type 2 is important.


To find out if your diabetes is type 1, your health care professional may test your blood for certain autoantibodies. Autoantibodies are antibodies that attack your healthy tissues and cells by mistake. The presence of certain types of autoantibodies is common in type 1 but not in type 2 diabetes.

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Heart Eyes Feet Nerves And Kidneys

How Diabetes Can Affect Your Body

Blood vessels are located throughout our bodys tissues and organs. They surround our bodys cells, providing a transfer of oxygen, nutrients and other substances, using blood as the exchange vehicle. In simple terms, diabetes doesnt allow glucose to get into cells and it damages blood vessels in/near these organs and those that nourish nerves. If organs, nerves and tissues cant get the essentials they need to properly function, they can begin to fail.Proper function means that your hearts blood vessels, including arteries, are not damaged . In your kidneys, this means that waste products can be filtered out of your blood. In your eyes, this means that the blood vessels in your retina remain intact. In your feet and nerves, this means that nerves are nourished and that theres blood flow to your feet. Diabetes causes damage that prevents proper function.

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Are There Other Treatment Options For Diabetes

Yes. There are two types of transplantations that might be an option for a select number of patients who have Type 1 diabetes. A pancreas transplant is possible. However, getting an organ transplant requires taking immune-suppressing drugs for the rest of your life and dealing with the side effects of these drugs. However, if the transplant is successful, youll likely be able to stop taking insulin.

Another type of transplant is a pancreatic islet transplant. In this transplant, clusters of islet cells are transplanted from an organ donor into your pancreas to replace those that have been destroyed.


Another treatment under research for Type 1 diabetes is immunotherapy. Since Type 1 is an immune system disease, immunotherapy holds promise as a way to use medication to turn off the parts of the immune system that cause Type 1 disease.

Bariatric surgery is another treatment option thats an indirect treatment for diabetes. Bariatric surgery is an option if you have Type 2 diabetes, are obese and considered a good candidate for this type of surgery. Much improved blood glucose levels are seen in people who have lost a significant amount of weight.

Of course other medications are prescribed to treat any existing health problems that contribute to increasing your risk of developing diabetes. These conditions include high blood pressure, high cholesterol and other heart-related diseases.

Can Prediabetes Type 2 Diabetes And Gestational Diabetes Be Prevented

Although diabetes risk factors like family history and race cant be changed, there are other risk factors that you do have some control over. Adopting some of the healthy lifestyle habits listed below can improve these modifiable risk factors and help to decrease your chances of getting diabetes:

  • Eat a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean or Dash diet. Keep a food diary and calorie count of everything you eat. Cutting 250 calories per day can help you lose ½ pound per week.
  • Get physically active. Aim for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week. Start slow and work up to this amount or break up these minutes into more doable 10 minute segments. Walking is great exercise.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Dont lose weight if you are pregnant, but check with your obstetrician about healthy weight gain during your pregnancy.
  • Lower your stress. Learn relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises, mindful meditation, yoga and other helpful strategies.
  • Limit alcohol intake. Men should drink no more than two alcoholic beverages a day women should drink no more than one.
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep .
  • Take medications to manage existing risk factors for heart disease or to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • If you think you have symptoms of prediabetes, see your provider.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Diabetes

Symptoms of diabetes include:

Type 1 diabetes symptoms: Symptoms can develop quickly over a few weeks or months. Symptoms begin when youre young as a child, teen or young adult. Additional symptoms include nausea, vomiting or stomach pains and yeast infections or urinary tract infections.

Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes symptoms: You may not have any symptoms at all or may not notice them since they develop slowly over several years. Symptoms usually begin to develop when youre an adult, but prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes is on the rise in all age groups.

Gestational diabetes: You typically will not notice symptoms. Your obstetrician will test you for gestational diabetes between 24 and 28 weeks of your pregnancy.

How Does Diabetes Affect Sleep

How Many Does Diabetes Affect

Diabetes occurs when the body loses its sensitivity or becomes resistant to insulin, a hormone released by the pancreas that helps regulate blood glucose levels.


When we sleep, our blood-glucose levels rise, a condition known as the dawn phenomenon. Our bodies respond by releasing insulin to bring those levels back down to a normal range. Poor sleep interferes with this process. Over time, the body can become less sensitive to insulin. When this occurs, the cells in the body are unable to convert consumed food into energy, which causes an increase in hunger. Constant hunger can lead to overeating, obesity, and, ultimately, diabetes.

Numerous studies also show this process can worsen the disease for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Further complicating the issue is that many symptoms associated with low or high blood sugar, can fracture sleep, awakening you at night or making it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.

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Diabetes And Its Effects On The Nerves

The effects of diabetes on the nerves can be serious as the nerves are involved in so many of our bodily functions, from movement and digestion through to sex and reproduction.


The presence of nerve damage is commonly noticed by:

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Lack of arousal in the penis or clitoris
  • Excessive sweating or
  • Diagnosis of delayed stomach emptying

Treatments for neuropathy concentrates on reducing pain but medication such blood pressure lowering drugs may also be prescribed to help prevent development of the condition.

What Medicines Do I Need To Treat My Type 1 Diabetes

If you have type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin because your body no longer makes this hormone. Different types of insulin start to work at different speeds, and the effects of each last a different length of time. You may need to use more than one type. You can take insulin a number of ways. Common options include a needle and syringe, insulin pen, or insulin pump.

Some people who have trouble reaching their blood glucose targets with insulin alone also might need to take another type of diabetes medicine that works with insulin, such as pramlintide. Pramlintide, given by injection, helps keep blood glucose levels from going too high after eating. Few people with type 1 diabetes take pramlintide, however. The NIH has recently funded a large research study to test use of pramlintide along with insulin and glucagon in people with type 1 diabetes. Another diabetes medicine, metformin, may help decrease the amount of insulin you need to take, but more studies are needed to confirm this. Reseachers are also studying other diabetes pills that people with type 1 diabetes might take along with insulin.

Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can occur if you take insulin but dont match your dose with your food or physical activity. Severe hypoglycemia can be dangerous and needs to be treated right away. Learn more about hypoglycemia and how to prevent or treat it.


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Open Sores And Wounds

Having high blood sugar for a long time can lead to poor circulation and nerve damage. You may have developed these if youve had uncontrolled diabetes for a long time.

Poor circulation and nerve damage can make it hard for your body to heal wounds. This is especially true on the feet. These open wounds are called diabetic ulcers.

Diabetes and feet

  • Get immediate medical care for an open sore or wound.
  • Work with your doctor to better control your diabetes.

Who Is More Likely To Develop Type 2 Diabetes

How Diabetes Affects The Body

You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight. Physical inactivity, race, and certain health problems such as high blood pressure also affect your chance of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

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Endocrine Excretory And Digestive Systems

If your pancreas produces little or no insulin or if your body cant use it other hormones are used to turn fat into energy. This can create high levels of toxic chemicals, including acids and ketone bodies, which may lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of the disease. Symptoms include:

Your breath may have a sweet scent thats caused by the elevated levels of ketones in the blood. High blood sugar levels and excess ketones in your urine can confirm diabetic ketoacidosis. If untreated, this condition can lead to loss of consciousness or even death.

Diabetic hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome occurs in type 2 diabetes. It involves very high blood glucose levels but no ketones.

You might become dehydrated with this condition. You may even lose consciousness. HHS is most common in people whose diabetes is undiagnosed, or who havent been able to manage their diabetes well. It can also be caused by a heart attack, stroke, or infection.

High blood glucose levels may cause gastroparesis. This is when its hard for your stomach to completely empty. This delay can cause blood glucose levels to rise. As a result, you may also experience:

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