Diabetes can lead to chronic complications caused by unregulated blood glucose level. Later complications are caused by a common underlying disorder which in turn causes progressive vasoconstriction.


Why do diabetics experience eyesight difficulties?

Diabetes affecting eyesight is directly related to progressive microangiopathy. The most common eyesight issues are retinopathy, maculopathy and cataract. Retinopathy is caused by damaged blood vessels and retina. Two main causes are elevated blood glucose level and high blood pressure. The symptoms are often absent or they develop slowly; that is the reason why deterioration of eyesight is not evident. Every diabetic must have his or her eyes checked on a regular basis.


Maculopathy (macular edema) is swelling of the macula (highly pigmented yellow spot near the center of the retina). It is the spot where the vision is the sharpest and in which one focuses sight. Maculopathy does not necessarily lead to blindness, but it can cause cloudy vision, issues with night vision and distorted vision. Cataract is a clouding of the lens which consists of water and proteins. Coagulation of proteins prevents rays of light from reaching the retina which causes eyesight issues. It can be fully recovered by lens replacement surgery. Classic symptoms include cloudy vision, frequent diopter change, “rings” around source of light and issues with night vision.


What is polyneuropathy?

It is a neurological disorder that affects many nerve cells, regardless of the nerve they pass through. It often afflicts legs (distal polyneuropathy), and the classic symptoms include numbness of feet and legs, muscle spasms, oversensitivity of the skin (painful sensation caused by blanket and sensation of pricking), unsteady balance, insensitivity to heat, dry skin and sores. It can also affect nerves in arms, as well as cranial nerves, which in turn can cause further motor disturbances and vision issues.


Does diabetes affect kidneys and vascular system?

Like the other complications, diabetic nephropathy has slow onset that lasts for a few years and in different stages. It is more common among Type 1 diabetics, but since Type 2 diabetics comprise a much bigger portion of the overall affected population, nephropathy is the most common complication. Around 25% of patients receiving dialysis treatment are diabetics, and kidney failure risk is seven times more probable with the Type 2 diabetes patients (in comparison with healthy persons).


Diabetes also affects large blood vessels, such as heart and brain vessels, as well as peripheral blood vessels. Fat settling points (caused by elevated level of body fat in blood and high blood pressure, often symptoms suffered by diabetics) lead to changes on blood vessel walls. Vasoconstriction further causes decreased blood circulation and weaker nutrient supply. The most common complication that stems from these symptoms are various vascular diseases of peripheral body parts (especially legs) that can lead to gangrene and often even amputation; that outcome is 15-40 times greater for diabetics than for the general population.




Diabetes hides a few more dangers

Find out more about the hidden dangers of diabetes in this brochure – complications with organs such as the eyes, kidneys and the cardiovascular system.

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