The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reports that every six seconds–every six fleeting seconds–diabetes takes another person’s life. For one, “diabetes” is an umbrella term for two main forms of the disease: type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Just as many variables and series of unfortunate events can lead to a particular type of cancer, so can many different factors lead to diabetes.
A life-threatening disorder that causes unconsciousness. If you have diabetes, dangerously high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) or dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can lead to a diabetic coma. If you go into a diabetic coma, you're alive — but you can't wake up or respond purposefully to sights, sounds, or other types of stimulation. If it's not treated, a diabetic coma can result in death.
Your brain needs sugar (glucose) to function. In severe cases, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may cause you to pass out. Low blood sugar can be caused by too much insulin or not enough food. Exercising too vigorously or drinking too much alcohol can have the same effect.
Diabetes causes an increased narrowing of the arteries and also the hardening of the arteries which slows down blood flow. Diabetics are at risk of heart problems such as coronary artery disease (when the blood supply to the heart muscle is diminished), which is the main cause of heart attacks.
Nerve damage and damage to the blood vessels in the legs and feet of diabetics cause poor circulation, which leads to patients developing foot problems. An innocent blister on your foot can become a serious infection if left untreated. Severe damage may lead to a toe, foot, or leg amputation.
Unfortunately, diabetes touches nearly every part of your body: it affects your vision, heart, kidneys, brain, nerves, and blood vessels. If diabetes is not well-controlled, the damage to the nerves and blood vessels can lead to the development of comorbidities, such as heart disease, kidney disease, neuropathy, retinopathy, stroke, amputations, and even blindness, which can leave you disabled and shorten your life in a myriad of ways.
We want to be clear, however, that just merely having a diagnosis of diabetes does not automatically lower your life expectancy! You are not a statistic! People with well-managed diabetes have been known to live full and complete lives, with normal life expectancies.
Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.
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