So far we have discussed some of the causes of diabetes mellitus (aka Type II diabetes). Now it is time to look at what diabetes does or can do to the body if reversal or proper mitigation is not undertaken (*Note: I did not use the word “management” purposefully which will be discussed later). Diabetes has a methodical way of slowly shutting down very important body processes. At first it is a silent thief roaming the body undetected causing painless harm. Later the harm becomes great enough to cause discomfort, outright pain or worse. The silent portion of the process can take years and could remain undiscovered for much of that time. The resulting complications are life changing.
Our Poor Eyes
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness affecting 4.1 million adults in the U.S. The blindness is caused primarily by a condition called diabetic retinopathy. One of the most devastating aspects of diabetes is how it affects blood flow and circulation. As blood flow to the retinas decrease due to diabetes the body attempts to compensate by creating new blood vessels. Unfortunately these blood vessels tend to be weak and they rupture. Bleeding in the retina obstructs vision and the laser treatments used to stop the bleeding often destroys portions of the retina. Retinal hemorrhaging and treatments for it can separately or in combination cause permanent blindness.
On Pins and Needles
Circulatory issues figure prominently with Type II diabetes. It can cause blindness and it can also cause another condition called neuropathy. Neuropathy occurs as blood vessels that supply the peripheral nervous system begin to weaken. The peripheral nerves, starved of nourishment, begin to degenerate creating pain. At first it could feel like being pricked by pins and needles as numbness begin to set in. A downward spiral ensues with ever decreasing circulation causing ever increasing pain.
Ulcers and Infections