Diabetes - complications

The long-term influence of high sugar concentrations in the blood causes damage to the blood vessels. The heart, brain, kidneys, extremities (especially the lower ones), nerves and eyes are particularly affected.


Diabetics suffer unusually early and markedly from the calcification of the large blood vessels (arteriosclerosis). Arteriosclerotic deposits harden the blood vessels. They increase in size and lose the natural elasticity. In the interior of the vessels, it becomes increasingly narrow in the areas of the deposits over the years. Less and less blood can flow through. The result is a particular susceptibility to myocardial infarction (over half of diabetics die from it!), Stroke and occlusion of the leg vessels (intermittent claudication).


The smallest vessels in our body are very important. On the one hand, they supply important structures (such as nerves or the retina of our eye) with oxygen and nutrients; on the other hand, they form the most essential structure of the kidney. Kidney An elevated blood sugar level over the years causes the arteries of the large renal vessels to calcify (arteriosclerosis), and the small vessels of the kidney are also damaged and change. The kidneys slowly but surely lose their filtering function. The slow but steady destruction of the kidneys does not catch the patient's attention for the time being. Complaints occur only after years, often accompanied by hypertension, which accelerates the damage to the organ. Therefore, on the one hand it is important to lower the blood sugar and blood pressure and on the other hand to regularly check the kidney function. This is done with a urine test on so-called microalbumine. These proteins are an early sign of a kidney disorder and are excreted by the body with the urine. Eye The retina with its fine blood vessels is particularly affected by the disease. For the patient, this means an increasing reduction in visual acuity and visual field. This problem is difficult to get under control despite optimal treatment. Once defects have occurred, they can hardly be repaired. Only the progression can be prevented or slowed down. The best precaution is therefore to visit the ophthalmologist at regular intervals. Nerves The destruction of nerve fibers manifests itself in the form of abnormal sensations and sensory disturbances, the latter especially on the lower legs and feet (burning sensation, decrease of the stimulus sensation). Other disorders such. B. Digestive and bladder dysfunction or impotence (absence of erection) are signs of increasing failure of vegetative (autonomic) nerves. The diabetic foot Lack of circulation and lessening sensation of pain lead to badly healing ulcers (ulcers) on the feet, especially in the case of bruises. For diabetics, good foot care and the routine examination of the feet is an important precautionary measure. In general, it can be said that infections are generally more frequent and more severe in diabetics than in healthy people.


The treatment of type 1 diabetics is the controlled administration of insulin. This is done in coordination with the blood sugar level and with a given diet. Insulin therapy is subject to constant change and is constantly being optimized, which is why it can not be discussed in detail here. On the other hand, in type 2 diabetics, emphasis is placed on weight reduction by changing eating habits and physical activity (this also improves the body's own insulin). In addition, medicines can be used that reduce the level of sugar and stimulate the body's insulin delivery. Fortunately, however, this normalizes after the weight loss and remains constant with appropriate diet, which is why you can do without medication. In advanced stages or already depleted insulin reserves, however, insulin must also be used here.

Preventive measures

Healthy diet and weight adjustment can often effectively prevent the recurrence of type 2 diabetes. In particular, low-fat and high-fiber foods are favorable. In particular, refined sugar (glucose) would have to be replaced by other sugars (for example in cereals) or sweeteners (saccharin, aspartame). In addition, you should distribute the food intake to several smaller portions.

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