Diabetes affects every single organ system in the body. Diabetes has the unique malignant potential to devastate our entire body. It would be difficult to find a single organ system not affected by diabetes. The medical community classifies these complications as either microvascular (small blood vessels) or macrovascular (large blood vessels).
“Diabetes complications include blurry vision to blindness, neuropathy to amputations, kidney failure and dialysis, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) to stroke, atrial fibrillation to heart attack, and an early and painful death. Other complications of diabetes include gastroparesis, erectile dysfunction (both male and female), urinary tract infections, and depression. Six emergency complications include “heart attack, stroke, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye problems, and hyperglycemia.”1
Jenny Ruhl writes about “the blood sugar levels found to cause neuropathy, retinopathy, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, and other diabetic complications, such as dementia and Charcot’s Foot (a foot complication caused by clogged blood vessels). And early diabetic complications, such as carpal tunnel.”2 Jenny lists ways to reverse diabetic neuropathy, the most important of which is to eat low-carb.
And there are other complications not related to blood vessels, such as skin conditions, fatty liver disease, infections, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer. Some less common complications include “tinnitus, shoulder disorders, sudden thigh pain, [and] sleep apnea.”3
Complications of diabetes can occur even if you have a low or normal A1C, especially if you achieved your low A1C with diabetes medications and/or insulin. Dr. Jason Fung says, “Blood glucose is fairly easily controlled by medication, but this does not prevent the long-term complications. Despite blood glucose control, damage occurs to virtually every organ system.”4
Fortunately, complications of diabetes can be reversed if you and/or your doctor catch them early enough. The body can heal itself if given the chance, but we must stop whatever is causing the damage, and that is high blood glucose (hyperglycemia) and high insulin levels (hyperinsulinemia). “The body, being a living biological thing, is able to heal itself to some degree. But to give our bodies the chance to heal themselves, we have to stop the thing that is causing the damage, which, in the case of diabetes, is elevated blood glucose levels.”5
1Marks, Hedy; medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH. “6 Emergency Complications of Type 2 Diabetes,” Every Day Health (February 23, 2016). https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/symptoms/complications/ (accessed on 7/30/1010).
2Ruhl, Jenny. “Blood Sugar 101: What They Don’t Tell You About Diabetes,” Blood Sugar 101 © 2018 Janet Ruhl. https://www.bloodsugar101.com/complications (accessed on 7/30/2020).
3Editorial Team. “Less Common Complications of Type 2 Diabetes,” Type 2 Diabetes (June 8, 2020). https://type2diabetes.com/clinical/less-common-complications/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).
4Fung, Dr. Jason. “Complications of diabetes – a disease affecting all organs,” Diet Doctor (October 9, 2016). https://www.dietdoctor.com/complications-diabetes-disease-affecting-organs (accessed on 8/2/2020).
5Lake, Dr. Ian. “Can diabetes complications be reversed?” Diabetes.co.uk (March 8, 2016). https://www.diabetes.co.uk/in-depth/can-diabetes-complications-reversed/ (accessed on 7/30/2020).
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