Being one of the most prevalent metabolic disorders, diabetes mellitus is a systematic disease, which leads to a host of many short term and long term health related complications. Diabetes progresses at a gradual rate by accumulating glucose in the blood stream that eventually affects different body parts like eyes, kidneys, heart and liver.
Moreover, it can also cause considerable damage to the nerves, a condition called diabetic neuropathy, which in turn, leads to the loss of sensation in arms and legs. While cardiovascular diseases, retinopathy, kidney damage and leg amputations are some of the most well known long term effects of diabetes, familiarizing yourself with the short term effects of diabetes can help you manage the symptoms of the disease using simple self-care measures at home.
What are the Short Term Complications of Diabetes?
Tingling or Numbness In the Hands and Feet
Over a period of time, accumulation of glucose in the blood vessels can disrupt the connection between blood vessels and nerves and lead to the damage of nerves that innervates the legs, feet and arms. Consequently, a loss of sensation or numbness occurs in the feet and hands. Also, many diabetic patients experience a feeling of “pins and needles”, which refers to a prickling and burning sensation in the lower limbs and feet.
Diabetes is characterized by the absence of insulin, as seen in Type 1 diabetes or the development of insulin resistance by the body’s cells, as seen in Type 2 diabetes.
As a result, the cells fail to obtain adequate amounts of glucose from the blood and are left starving due to the inability of insulin to drive the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into the cells. This leads to increased hunger and if this calorie deficit is not balanced by sufficient calorie consumption, it can lead to unexplained weight loss.
Increased Thirst and Frequent Urination
Dehydration and frequent urination are the most prominent short term effects of diabetes. The body attempts to expel excess of glucose in the bloodstream through urine and hence the need for urination increases. This leads to dehydration, fatigue and increased thirst. Furthermore, excessive loss of water and a decrease in blood volume also trigger an increase in the levels of glucose in the bloodstream.
Delay in the Healing of Injuries
Undiagnosed and uncontrolled diabetes leads to diabetic neuropathy, a condition marked by damage to nerves and a loss of sensation of pain in the feet. As a result, sores, bruises, cuts, blisters, cracks and swellings in the feet may go unnoticed and take longer than usual to heal. Moreover, your susceptibility to infections and the number of infections may increase dramatically due to poor blood circulation to the lower extremities of the body, which impairs the ability of the immune system to fight an infection.
In addition, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, blurry vision, increase in the risk of gum infections, nausea and tiredness are other short term complications of diabetes, which occur on a day-to-day basis, without any warning signs.
Being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle are the leading causes of diabetes and hence staying physically active and developing good eating habits can not only help you overcome the aforementioned short term effects of diabetes, but can also aid in preventing the onset of other life threatening complications.