- Cardiovascular disease: Heart and vessel damage, heart disease and stroke are 2 or 4 more commons in people with diabetes. High blood glucose increases the rate of arterial plaque built up in the artery walls. The plaque makes difficult the blood flow in the arteries and can even block it causing heart attack and stroke. People with diabetes also have both high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, then are exposed to a high risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart coronary artery disease and atherosclerosis. They are also prone to peripheral vascular damage which results in low blood flow at limb and extremities.
- Nephropathy (kidney damage): Diabetes affects the kidneys causing nephropathy, in which kidneys loose the ability to filter waste products. The glomeruli are a delicate filter system in the kidneys, composed by millions of tiny blood vessel clusters that extract various toxins from the blood stream. Chronic exposure to high glucose damages the glomeruli and other kidney structures. All the changes in the normal glomerulos physiology impair filtration, resulting an excess of protein in the urine called proteinuria. As the diseas progresses and increases the number of glomeruli that are destroyed by the nodular glumerular sclerosis, the kidney damage can progress in irreversible end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), which require dialysis or kidney transplantation.
- Retinopathy (eye damage): A chronic exposure to high glucose level in the microvessels of the retina can produce vascular damage and vascular degeneration that can lead to a damage of the retina and eventually blindness. Diabetes can also increase the risk of other vision conditions, such as glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetic retinopathy is almost equally prevelant in both type1 and type2 diabetic patients and more than 60% of the people with diabetes have significant degree of diabetic retinopathy after 10 years of diabetes.
- Neuropathy (nerve damage): The nerves are extremely sensitive to any change in oxigen levels and nutrients supply. Chronic high glucose exposition also damages the small vessels that serve peripheral nerves with nerve damage. Patients can then experience pain, burning sensation, tingling and numbness, especially in the legs and feet. The damage of the nerves in the gastrointestinal system can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. Erectile dysfunction may be also associated.
- Wound healing and foot damage: Neuropathy, wound healing and foot problems are strictly correlated: the neuropathy, which inhibits the perception of pain, may facilitate the generation of small wounds than can then progress due to a compromised wound healing system (reduced blood vessels flow and thus hypoxigenation and reduced cell metabolism and proliferation). The combination of vasculopathy and neuropathy may lead to chronic ulcerative lesions than may require partial or total limb amputation.
- Osteoporosis: The bone mineral density in diabetes may be lower than normal, increasing the risk of osteoporosis. Diabetes, particularly type 1 diabetes, is correlated to low bone density, probably because insulin, which is deficient in type 1 diabetes, may promote bone growth and strength.
COMPLICATIONS IN GESTATIONAL DIABETES
If left untreated Gestational Diabetes may develop serious birth complications:
- Excess growth: Gestational Diabetes increases the possibility to have a large baby, weighing more than 4kg (8.8lbs). This is known as macrosomia. That causes a long and difficult delivery in which medical intervention is reqired.
- Low blood sugar: babies of mothers with gestational diabetes may develop low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) shortly after birth in response of a condition of insulin overexpression (their own insulin production is high). newborn baby has low blood glucose can cause poor feeding, blue-tinged skin and irritability , while severe episodes of hypoglycemia may provoke seizures in the baby.
- Respiratory distress syndrome: babies delivered early as a complication of gestational diabetes may experience respiratory distress syndrome, a condition that makes breathing difficult because the baby’s lungs may not be fully mature and strong. In the first days after born, could be used oxygen or other types of help.
- Type 2 diabetes later in life: Children of mothers who had gestational diabetes are at increased risk of becoming obese and of developing diabetes later in their life.
[Last update: July 2018]