Diabetes Handbook Online

The blood vessels

The most frequently affected parts of the body by diabetes are, the however, the blood vessels and especially the arteries. In at least half of all diabetics the walls of the arteries eventually become thickened, probably as a result of the alternating high fatty-acid levels and low blood-sugar levels that inevitably occur in the course of a diabetic life. In fact to prevent or to reduce the extent of complications is the object of securing a good balance in diabetic control, not one that is subject to wind variations. Reports have shown the well-balanced to be less prone to all the complications of diabetes than the relatively uncontrolled. If the arteries harden, which they do as a result of thickening,then as age advances all the problems of bad blood circulation emerge. Angina and heart pains are more common in diabetics as is the occurrence of coronary thrombosis(heart attacks).Because of these dangers, blood pressure checks are important, as is the maintenance of reasonable body weight, avoiding obesity.

Similarly, in old people the circulation in the legs and arms may be reduced, and they may feel the cold much more. foot care by regular attendance at a state- registered chiropodist is essential at a person since damaged toe nails, if badly cut become much more easily infected and less easy to heal. Indeed, all injuries to the foot from badly fitting shoes, for example, or from corns, abrasions and sores have this unfortunate tendency to heal badly, but also to become infected. As a consequence, in the most severely affected, gangrene can occur which requires amputation,and prevention of this depends on scrupulous foot care.

Unfortunately, as a result of the somewhat progressive damage to the arteries, the small blood vessels at the eye, in the retina, may be the first to show impairment. Diabetic retinopathy, as it is termed, occurs when the blood vessels which have hardened walls leak and haemorrhage or exude fluid from the bloodstream in to the tissues of the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is the light-sensitive part of the eye, vital for sight , and diabetics may be very prone later in life to loss of sight through these consequence. The situation is not all depressing, however , for many advances have been made in the treatment of this condition, but it must always be borne in mind as a complication facing the diabetic and regular eye examination is important to identify people who would benefit from preventive therapy. The likelihood of it developing is never- theless reduced if the diabetes is well balanced.


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