Diabetes complications:Heart disease causes, Obesity, Eye Complications, Kidney failure

Diabetes is the disorder of the manner in which our bodies digest food for energy. Most of the food is broken down in to glucose to be used for the energy and fuel for the body. Glucose is led to the cells by the blood where insulin, produced by pancreas, helps it to enter the cells to be absorbed by them for fuel. In diabetes patients, either pancreas does not produce enough insulin (Type I) or the cells in the liver, muscles and fat does not use insulin properly (Type II), or both. As a result, the amount of glucose in the blood increases while the cells are starved of energy.

Heart disease causes & treatments

Coronary heart disease is recognized to be the cause of death for 80% of people with diabetes. Diabetes can change the makeup of blood vessels, and this can lead to cardiovascular disease. The lining of the blood vessels may become thicker, and this in turn can impair blood flow. Heart problems and the possibility of stroke can occur.

Even the patients with diabetes under control suffer from the cardiovascular or heart diseases due to the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

When patients have both hypertension and diabetes, which is a common combination, their risk for cardiovascular disease doubles.

  • Abnormal cholesterol and high triglycerides

Patients with diabetes often have unhealthy cholesterol levels including high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and high triglycerides. This triad of poor lipid counts often occurs in patients with premature coronary heart disease.

  • Obesity

Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and has been strongly associated with insulin resistance.

  • Lack of physical activity

Exercising and losing weight can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, reduce blood pressure and help reduce the risk for heart attack and stroke. It’s likely that any type of physical activity—whether sports, household work, gardening or work-related physical activity—is similarly beneficial.

  • Poorly controlled blood sugars (too high) or out of normal range

Diabetes can cause blood sugar to rise to dangerous levels. Medications may be needed to manage blood sugar.

  • Smoking

Smoking puts individuals, whether or not they have diabetes, at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Learn how to kick the habit.

Eye Complications

People with diabetes have a higher risk of blindness and other vision problems like:

  • Diabetic retinopathy is the problem with the network of blood vessels supply to the retina.
  • The changes in the blood sugar level of the body lead to affect the lens in the eye especially when the diabetes is uncontrolled. This leads to blurring of vision.
  • The lens of the eye could go cloudy in the longer effect of the diabetes. This is cataract.


  • Good control of sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol reduces the risk of diabetes-related sight loss.
  • Attend your diabetic clinic regularly and do not hesitate to discuss the treatment with your physician. Most sight threatening sight problems can be treated with the laser treatment.
  • Smoking increases the risk of diabetes related sight loss. Hence stop smoking immediately.

Kidney failure and treatment

Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure, accounting for nearly 44 percent of new cases. Even when diabetes is controlled, the disease can lead to CKD and kidney failure. Most people with diabetes do not develop CKD that is severe enough to progress to kidney failure. Nearly 24 million people in the United States have diabetes 2 and nearly 180,000 people are living with kidney failure as a result of diabetes.

Drugs used to lower blood pressure can slow the progression of kidney disease significantly. Two types of drugs, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), have proven effective in slowing the progression of kidney disease.

People with kidney failure undergo dialysis, an artificial blood-cleaning process, or transplantation to receive a healthy kidney from a donor.

Nerve Damage (neuropathy)

Diabetes can cause damage to the nerves that run through the body. Nerve damage or neuropathy symptoms include pain, tingling, or numbness-loss of feeling-in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart, and sex organs.


  • Physical examination

During the exam, your doctor may check blood pressure, heart rate, muscle strength, reflexes, and sensitivity to position changes, vibration, temperature, or light touch.

  • Nerve conduction studies or electromyography
  • Heart rate variability
  • Ultrasound test

Foot Problems and cure

  • Fungal infection of nails. Nails that are infected with a fungus may become discolored (yellowish-brown or opaque), thick and brittle, and may separate from the rest of the nail.
  • A callus is a build-up of hard skin, usually on the underside of the foot.
  • A corn is a build-up of hard skin near a bony area of a toe or between toes.
  • Blisters can form when your shoes rub the same spot on your foot. Wearing shoes that do not fit properly or wearing shoes without socks can cause blisters, which can become infected.
  • A bunion forms when your big toe angles in toward the second toe. Often, the spot where your big toe joins the rest of the foot becomes red and callused. This area also may begin to stick out and become hard.
  • Dry skin can crack, which can allow germs to enter. Use moisturizing soaps and lotions to help keep your skin moist and soft.
  • A foot ulcer is a break in the skin or a deep sore, which can become infected. Foot ulcers can result from minor scrapes, cuts that heal slowly or from the rubbing of shoes that do not fit well
  • A hammertoe is a toe that is bent because of a weakened muscle. The weakened muscle makes the tendons (tissues that connect muscles to bone) shorter, causing the toes to curl under the feet
  • Ingrown toenails occur when the edges of the nail grow into the skin. They cause pressure and pain along the nail edges

In all the cases following is the common cure:

  • Use of loose & comfort fitting shoes without any broken sides.
  • Surgery if necessary
  • Personal hygiene
  • Use of moisturizer soaps and lotions to help keep the skin moist and soft 

Skin Complications

Scleroderma diabeticorum

While rare, this skin problem affects people with type 2 diabetes, causing a thickening of the skin on the back of the neck and upper back. The treatment is to bring your blood sugar level under control. Lotions and moisturizers may help soften skin.


Vitiligo, a skin problem more commonly associated with type 1 diabetes than type 2 diabetes, affects skin coloration. With vitiligo, the special cells that make pigment (the substance that controls skin color) are destroyed, resulting in patches of discolored skin. Vitiligo often affects the chest and abdomen, but may be found on the face around the mouth, nostrils, and eyes.

Acanthosis nigricans

This is a skin problem that results in the darkening and thickening of certain areas of the skin especially in the skin folds. The skin becomes tan or brown and is sometimes slightly raised and described as velvety

In all the above mentioned cases early diagnosis and a proper medical treatment is the only cure of these diseases.