Statistics show that diabetes is the fastest growing illness in the UK. In fact as the BBC highlights 10% of the NHS budget goes on treating diabetes. This is because it comes attached to so many other illnesses. It can appear like one giant symptom and become overwhelming, but knowing what they all are can make things clearer and many can be prevented by awareness and regular check-ups. Always consult your GP if you have concerns that you are suffering from any of these.
- Loss of hearing
If you have diabetes you are twice as likely to suffer hearing loss experts suggest. The links are not clear but some researchers believe it may be because diabetes can damage the nerves and blood vessels of the inner ear. Websites such as Hidden Hearing have more information on the subject and can offer support for people with hearing impairments.
- Coeliac disease
If you are unlucky enough to suffer from Coeliac disease then you are twice as likely to get type 1 diabetes – the two are closely associated as they are both autoimmune conditions and are genetically linked.
- Dental problems
You must take extra care of you mouth if you suffer from diabetes, in particular type 2. People with high blood glucose levels can suffer from gum inflammation, tooth decay, oral thrush and dry mouth. Impeccable oral care and regular visits to the dentist are a must.
- Eye problems (Retinopathy)
There is strong evidence to suggest that diabetes increases the risk of developing cataracts or glaucoma. It can also damage the blood vessels in the retina which could lead to blindness.
- Heart Disease
Diabetes increases the risk of many cardiovascular conditions including heart attacks, strokes or narrowing arteries. Extra care must be taken to monitor your blood pressure, eat healthily and keep fit.
- Foot Problems
Problems with the feet are the most common associated side-affects of diabetes, due to the poor circulation it causes. Ulcers can appear on the foot which are extremely painful. It is paramount to have a good knowledge and understanding of foot problems so any issues can be dealt with in the early stages.
- Nerve damage (Neuropathy)
Nerve damage is a common problem with diabetics – the excess sugar can damage the walls of the nerve’s blood vessels. Symptoms include numbness, tingling or burning of the extremities that can spread upwards and, if left untreated, can even lead to complete loss of feeling in limbs.
- Kidney damage (Nephropathy)
Diabetes can damage the filtering system that kidneys provide. Severe damage could of could lead to kidney failure or even worse end-stage kidney disease.
- Skin problems
Unfortunately, there are many skin problems that can be brought on by diabetes, in fact it can be a good visible clue that someone is suffering from the illness. Some are only present to diabetics, and some are conditions that anyone can have but are made worse by diabetes. The main thing is not to ignore it, help and support is always at hand.
- Thyroid problems
As we know diabetes is an autoimmune disease and therefore the thyroid is at risk of being destroyed. There are two types of thyroid disease: hyperthyroidism which is when the body produces too much thyroid hormones and hypothyroidism which is when the body doesn’t produce enough. Thyroid disease cannot be cured but can be treated.
This list is not exhaustive and there are many more complications associated with diabetes. To find out more about them or about diabetes in general visit Diabetes UK.