When you hear the word, “diabetes”, the first thing that comes to mind is “too much sugar in the blood.” This is largely true, but diabetes is beyond just having excess sugar in the blood. Diabetes affects the body in many ways, and the effects of diabetes on the body systems are also quite numerous.
What is diabetes?
The balance of glucose has to be strictly maintained by the liver and the pancreas. But a problem arises when, for some reason, they can’t keep the balance. For example, when excess glucose cannot be converted into glycogen, this causes high blood sugar levels.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when:
- The pancreas is not producing enough insulin. This is known as type 1 diabetes.;
- There is too much insulin but the body is unable to use it, that is, there is insulin resistance. This is also referred to as type 2 diabetes.
Other types of diabetes include:
- Prediabetes: here, the symptoms and the levels of blood sugar is not yet high enough to qualify as diabetes. However, the sugar levels are high enough to raise concern, and if not managed appropriately, it can graduate into full-blown diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes, which happens in pregnant women, etc.
Here is a better coverage of diabetes, it’s causes, diagnosis and symptoms.
Ayurveda and diabetes.
There has been an increase in the incidence of diabetes recently too. This is because of the change in dietary habits that has seen us taking more calories and living more sedentary lifestyles. As such, we allow imbalances to arise in our compositions. With these imbalances, ama(a toxic byproduct of metabolism) is given a free hand to accumulate, and this leads to the various symptoms that we see.
Effects of diabetes on the body systems.
Diabetes affects the body, organs and its systems in various ways. The condition leads to symptoms that can further aggravate other symptoms in various body organs and systems. Some of them have are as follows:
How diabetes affects the eyesight.
Yes, there are also effects of diabetes on the eyesight. Studies have shown that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people between ages 20 and 74.
Complications of sight due to diabetes can be in different forms:
- Diabetic retinopathy: This is the most common. The retina is light sensitive part of the eye. When you look at an object, light from the object falls on the retina, and the light signals are taken to the brain for interpretation. But, recall that the blood vessels do get damaged due to diabetes. As a result, the small blood vessels in the eyes begin to leak, allowing blood into the retina. Thus, the retina is no longer able to effectively carry out its function, and eyesight dwindles.
- Macular edema: Macula is the part of the retina that allows clear vision. Due to blood vessel damages, fluid builds up in the eye, and the macula gets damaged, causing the vision to become blurry.
- Glaucoma: In this condition, the pressure in the eyes increase way beyond normal. This damages the vision.
- Cataracts: Cataracts causes foggy and cloudy vision.
How to reduce the risk of eye problems due to diabetes.
- Keep the blood sugar levels under control.
- Keep blood pressure in check.
- Take a dilated eye exam yearly.
Effects of diabetes on the teeth and gum.
Going further on how diabetes affects the body. Diabetics have a higher risk of developing tooth and gum infections if the diabetes isn’t managed well. The problem is also because the blood vessels supplying them get damaged, so they don’t get enough nutrition and circulation to keep healthy. Sadly, damage to teeth and gums can further aggravate blood sugar levels, and a correlation has also been found with heart disease.
How to prevent teeth and gum damage from diabetes.
- Visit a dentist and have your dental health examined at least twice yearly.
- Brush twice and floss once daily.
- It is recommended that you use a soft toothbrush.
How diabetes affects the mental health.
Diabetes is a chronic disease. It is something that the patient has to live with. This knowledge and the management can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. Aside this, the damage to blood vessels also reaches the brain. Consequently, the brain has a shortage of blood supply. Furthermore, type 2 diabetes has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia due to changes in brain resulting from the shortage of blood supply. Diabetes affects the body almost completely, and the brain is not left out.
How to reduce the impact of diabetes on mental health.
- Your doctor might refer you to mental health professionals.
- Join diabetes support groups to share the burdens.
The effects of diabetes on the immune system.
Diabetes affects the immune system too. In diabetes, the level of sugar in the blood can get high, and this does not help the immune functions of the body. high blood sugar levels slow down the white blood cells(the cells of the immune system that help with the detection and fighting of diseases). Consequently, they can’t perform their functions very well.
This open up thee body to risk of infections. That is, the body is more susceptible to infections, since the defense system is down.
Preventing immune problems due to diabetes.
In this case, you want to prevent infections and help your immune system along in any way that you can.
- keep the blood glucose levels in optimum range.
- Sleep enough.
- Wash hands frequently to not transfer infections.
- Take immunizations to help your immune system further.
Effects of diabetes on sexual health.
Diabetes can cause sexual dysfunction in men and in women. In women however, it is unclear as yet if the sexual dysfunction is due to diabetes or just a normal sign of menopause.
How diabetes affects the thyroid glands.
The endocrine system is not left out. Initially, diabetes results from hormonal imbalances. So, they thyroid gland can either become hyperactive or under-active.
Ayurvedic management of diabetes.
There are various Ayurvedic management methods for diabetes, including Ayurvedic Diet, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Tips for Blood Sugar Management. Some are listed below:
- Gurmar: This is an herb. gurmar means “destroyer of sugar”. it helps curb sugar cravings and also has anti-diabetic properties.
- Methi: This has many health benefits. One of them is in managing diabetes. It helps by reducing the rate of absorption of glucose in the intestine.
- Neem: This is a bitter herb that stimulates the pancreas. It helps to improve insulin production.
- Tulsi: It is useful in cases of prediabetes and and type-2 diabetes. Tulsi helps to reduce postprandial(after eating) and fasting(between meals) glucose levels. It also contains antioxidants that help to increase insulin sensitivity.
- Giloy: It also helps with type 2 diabetes. It has significant anti-diabetic activity. It works by producing insulin to lower blood glucose levels. Giloy also helps to burn off excess glucose.
- Holy Basil: This is also an herb. It supports blood glucose and has a protective anti-oxidant effect.
- Jamun: Jamun is 82% water with no sucrose. It also helps to reduce blood sugar levels.
- Breathing exercises can also help to improve metabolism.
With all these, it is important that you consult with your health-care provider for a better understanding of your symptoms and management options. This article is meant to serve only as a guide.
See Effects of Diabetes on Your Body (I) for more of understanding of how diabetes can really disturb your body systems.