Diabetes and Kidneys
Diabetes is a condition where the sugar level in the blood is raised. Now, we all have sugar in our blood and this is very tightly controlled by insulin and there are other ways in which the sugar levels are kept under tight control.
Now diabetes happens when the control mechanisms are defective and the high sugar is quite poisonous to their internal organs, particularly the blood vessels in our body and in the initial period. The complications start to build up, but it is not felt by the patient for a long time.
It may be anything up to 10 years before complications from damage to the small blood vessels, especially the capillaries start to show up. So, you could call this a silent killer for that reason. The smallest of blood vessels are damaged particularly in the back layer of the eyes and in the kidneys and also those blood vessels supplying the nerves.
So we have a problem with vision, kidney damage and nerve damage which will show itself up in the form of a leak of protein and gradual accumulation of toxic products because of kidney failure. And then at that point, you start to feel ill and most of the time when you see the doctor, it is fairly late and the time where you could actually prevent the development of these complications was when you are feeling well but living with high blood sugars.
So the important message is to screen people to detect high blood sugar and then manage to keep the blood sugar under strict control if you want to avoid running into serious problems in 10, 15, 20 years later. You must also remember that high blood sugar is associated with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excess weight and lack of exercise, the complete package and also you must not forget cigarette smoking, all these things contribute to heart attacks and strokes at a young age.
Controlling sugar is extremely important along with stopping cigarette smoking, controlling cholesterol and keeping your weight under control. So my suggestion is, while sugar control is important, other problems that I mentioned also must be carefully controlled if we are to live a healthy life for a long period.
High blood sugar causes harm to the inner lining of blood vessels. The smallest of the blood vessels are known as capillaries and the capillary damage results in leakage of protein into the urinary system. So one of the earliest signs of kidney damage with diabetes is protein in your urine. This can be detected long before the blood tests show an abnormality and also only when 60 % or so of your kidneys are damaged.
Diabetes and Foot Care
Diabetes for a long period and high blood sugar can affect the tiny blood vessels on our feet and damage the nerves. The nerves on our feet perform some very important functions. It’s the normal nerve function that allows us to perceive pain, heat and all. These very important stimuli help us protect our skin and tissue.
The nerves also are very important in normal muscle and joint function. Any defect in the nerve function will give rise to abnormal muscle and joint function which results in deformities. Additionally, our skin sweating also is regulated by nerve function.
So to summarize, when the nerves are affected, we will not be able to protect ourselves from pain caused by punctures, cuts or heat burns. The deformities caused pressure points which are manifested by what we call callosities or the thickening of the skin. All these result in the very easy wounding of our feet.
Because of the lack of sensation, when people wound themselves, they don’t realize it. They do not seek proper medical care and delays are very common.
High blood sugar also damages the circulation of blood and oxygen. Poor circulation doesn’t help the healing of wounds. Instead, wounds get easily infected. So easy wounding and faulty healing results in serious problems like amputation of toes and legs. Or worst, even the entire leg around the knee lever.
If you will look at the worldwide figures, it is estimated that every 17 seconds or so a limb is lost because of diabetes. You all know that once a person has an amputation, the quality of life and lifespan, all these things become seriously impacted.
The important thing about the diabetic foot, with proper education and compliance, we can prevent injuries. Once you’ve lost sensation, we need to protect your feet by wearing appropriate shoes and footwear at all times. And also check out your feet between the toes for any tiny injury. Because all wounds start very small and it is just by neglect which results in them reaching a large size and ending with complications.
And if there is a foot injury, wash and clean it and then see your doctor. Because infection could easily take a grip on the tissues and could rise to puss formation and tissue death.
All this can happen in a very quiet way and hidden under the skin for quite some time.