Type 2 Diabetes Complications

Type 2 Diabetes Complications

Type 2 diabetes complications often come as a surprise to many people with diabetes. Because diabetes can take years to develop, many people may not notice the slow progression of their type 2 diabetes symptoms until they have diabetes complications. While this is a topic that I would prefer to avoid, it is very important because type 2 diabetes complications are really serious. Therefore, if you think that you have diabetes, you should get tested immediately. Learn more about type 2 diabetes test in order to know what to expect.

Diabetes is a systemic condition that can affect every organ in the body. This should not be a surprise because blood flows to every organ in the body supplying it with life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients. High blood sugar levels mean that you have an excess amount of sugar circulating in your bloodstream. Since the body is not designed to have excess sugar molecules in your blood circulation, with time the excess sugar floating in your blood wreaks havoc on your entire body system when you have uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Having controlled blood sugar levels can prevent type 2 diabetes complications.

Type 2 Diabetes Complications

Because of this, it is a good idea to follow a  low carb diet for diabetics, monitor your blood sugar levels and take your medicine if you are a known diabetic. If you are prediabetic or simply overweight, you can take the 30-Day Low Carb Diet Challenge to jumpstart your new lifestyle change designed to help people avoid type 2 diabetes complications. People with type 2 diabetes can also take the low carb diet challenge if you know how to (1) monitor your blood sugar levels routinely and (2) take the appropriate amount of medicine based on blood sugar levels.

As a vascular-related ailment, type 2 diabetes complications can be broadly categorized into microvascular and macrovascular type 2 diabetes complications.

1. Microvascular

Microvascular is a word that simply means small blood vessels. So, the type 2 diabetes complications listed here are a result of small blood vessel damage that can result from having high blood sugar levels.

Blindness

When the small blood vessels in the eyes are damaged due to uncontrolled blood sugars, it can result in retinopathy, cataracts, and/or glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to permanent blindness.[1]  Fortunately, while cataracts and glaucoma can affect your vision, they can often be treated. The longer you have diabetes and the more uncontrolled blood sugars you have, the more likely you are to develop blindness.

Kidney Failure

When the small blood vessels or the units in the kidneys that clean the blood are damaged, it is called nephropathy.[2] This particular type 2 diabetes complication can lead to kidney failure that requires taking dialysis, a permanent long-term life-sustaining measure.

Wounds & Amputations

High blood sugar levels damage nerves in the peripheral nervous system. Therefore, a person with diabetes may start to experience numbness, pain, or tingling sensations in their extremities. Because the feet are often numb, tingling or already experiencing pain in a person with neuropathy, diabetics may experience undetected cuts that can go unnoticed and easily develop into ulcerative wound infections that lead to gangrene and in many cases amputations.

2. Macrovascular

Macrovascular is in reference to larger blood vessels. So, the type 2 diabetes complications listed here are a result of larger blood vessels being damaged as a result of uncontrolled diabetes (chronic high blood sugar levels).

Brain Damage

As the macrovascular system becomes damaged, brain damage can occur. Therefore, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes complications of the brain can increase your risk of cerebrovascular disease including cognitive impairment, transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.

Heart Disease

High blood pressure and insulin resistant diabetes can increase your risk of coronary heart disease that can lead to heart attack.

Peripheral Vascular Disease (Veins & Arteries)

Peripheral vascular disease is a blood circulation disorder that causes peripheral blood vessels (veins and arteries) to narrow, block, or spasm. The narrowing of blood vessels reduce blood flow in the legs and feet which leads to peripheral vascular disease.  As a result, wounds on the feet will heal much more slowly and can further contribute to infection and gangrene.

After blood sugar levels remain high for an extended period of time, the blood vessels which feed the nerves can become damaged. And, as a result, damaged blood vessels can lead to the nerves themselves becoming damaged.

3. Nervous System

Peripheral Neuropathy (Nerves)

Peripheral neuropathy is nerve damage that is most often caused by diabetic peripheral vascular disease. Again, it is the result of having uncontrolled blood sugar levels for an extended period of time. This type 2 diabetes complication is characterized by burning and tingling in the legs, feet or hands. This condition can lead to complete numbness and limb atrophy. Numbness in the legs and feet can cause small cuts and bruises to go unnoticed which can lead to more serious type 2 diabetes complications like ulcers, wounds, and infections[3].

Summary

As you can see, type 2 diabetes complications are indeed serious if you do not monitor and control of blood sugar levels. If you have already been diagnosed with diabetes, follow a low carb diet and take your medication as needed. Some are learning how to reverse type 2 diabetes in our Low Carb Diet Life Program. Either way, you should get a type 2 diabetes test if you have not been diagnosed or monitor your blood sugar levels if you are a diabetic or prediabetic. In this way, type 2 diabetes complications can be minimized or avoided.