Critical Elderly Complications Of Diabetes

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Critical Elderly Complications Of DiabetesNutrient absorption capacity of human body reduces significantly with age. This, in combination with diabetes, can cause different complications in elderly diabetic patients. Diabetic neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy are common diabetic complications in elderly patients.

Diabetes can also cause complications with foot ulcers due to increased insulin resistance in old age. Diabetes can also weaken heart function in the old age due to neuropathy. Let us try to understand more about elderly complications of diabetes.

Elderly Complications Of Diabetes

Retinopathy

This is a very common complication of diabetes in old-aged diabetic patients. Diabetic retinopathy affects retina in the eye and alters normal functioning of eye.

slow loss of eye sight over a period of time.

It is a progressive condition which results in slow loss of eye sight over a period of time. It can also cause blindness as a consequence of retinal damage. Patients with diabetic retinopathy have an increased risk of blindness in old age than non-diabetic patients. Diabetic retinopathy in old age is a consequence of retinal swelling and damage to blood vessels near retina.

Neuropathy

Another critical complication of diabetes in old age is diabetic neuropathy. This can cause microvascular damage resulting in poor blood supply to vital organs. A good majority of neuropathic conditions are associated with diabetic neuropathy. Complications such as autonomic neuropathy can cause death in diabetic patients who undergo cardiac surgery.

Diabetic mononeuropathy can affect a single nerve in body resulting in infection or improper functioning of body processes. This type of neuropathy is related to medical conditions like diabetic gastroparesis, where vagus nerve is affected due to diabetes.

Cardiac Complications

Old-aged diabetic patients have an increased risk of developing coronary artery disease due to atherosclerotic changes caused by diabetes. Other types of cardiac complications in diabetic patients of old age include cardiac arrest and peripheral artery disease.

peripheral artery disease

Source: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/pad/

Increased heart rate and abnormal heart function are very common diabetic patients above 55 years of age. Increased blood sugar levels result in free radicals causing damage to healthy cells. This combined with slow blood flow through arteries in diabetic patient causes atherosclerotic heart disease.

Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy affects proper functioning of kidneys as a consequence of glomerulosclerosis (hardening of glomeruli in the kidney). This syndrome is also known as nodular diabetic glomerulosclerosis. Nephropathy is one of the primary causes of death in old-aged diabetic patients.

Diabetic nephropathy is a consequence of chronic diabetes affecting blood vessels inside kidney. This can progress into end-stage renal disease in old age necessitating regular dialysis or kidney transplantation. Diabetic nephropathy can also result in kidney failure.

Infections

Elderly patients are at a higher risk of developing unusual diabetic infections than younger individuals with diabetes. This is due to poor functioning of body processes in older patients. Malignant ear infections are known to occur in old-aged diabetic patients.

mucormycosis

Other types of infections in diabetic patients include mucormycosis and emphysematous pyelonephritis. The latter is a severe kidney infection which results in accumulation of gas in tissues. Infections in elderly patients can complicate other medical conditions resulting in fatal consequences.

Conclusion

Diabetes can cause a variety of complications in elderly patients due to poor nutrient absorption by body and weak body processes.