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Kidney damage, cardiovascular problems … These are the diseases associated with diabetes

The photographs accompanying this text are a powerful advertising campaign by the Thai Diabetes Association to raise public awareness about the importance of lifestyle and a balanced diet in avoiding diabetes. A campaign that left no one indifferent and was viralized through social networks due to the raw images.

The Diabetes currently affects 422 million people worldwide (data 2014) according to the report of the World Health Organization : in 35 years, the number of diabetics has almost quadrupled (were 108 million in 1980).

Other illnesses and complications that we must know, such as vision problems, kidney damage or even heart problems, may appear from the hand of diabetes and associated with it. These are the main diseases associated with diabetes and thus affect those who suffer them.

Diabetics have a higher cardiac risk

Perhaps the most well-known and most prevalent complication in people with diabetes is the increased risk of a heart complication. 65% of diabetic people die from cardiac complications or cardiovascular problems , and diabetes is now considered as one of the risk factors for coronary heart disease.

The greater amount of blood glucose in the case of diabetics makes it much more likely that problems of poor circulation appear , it favors the appearance of clots in the blood flow (since the blood is much more dense due to the glucose) and generates a higher blood pressure. This makes people with diabetes more than twice as likely to have heart disease.

Not only this, but people with diabetes also have higher levels of LDL cholesterol (known as “bad cholesterol”) and lower levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol), and this favors the appearance of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

The prevalence of celiac disease among diabetics

The celiac disease or celiac disease is a food intolerance to gluten, a protein found in grains such as oats, wheat, rye, barley or buckwheat, which affects 1% of the population. The percentage among type 1 diabetics is much higher: it is estimated that 10% of them suffer in addition to celiac disease.

Because of this close link between type 1 diabetes and celiac disease, the American Diabetes Association recommends screening for celiac disease in the first five years after diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, and then spacing every three years thereafter.

The fact of suffering type 1 diabetes, which implies a special care with the patient’s diet, and this adding to the gluten intolerance can deprive quality of life to those who suffer. Early diagnosis, good dietary control and daily physical activity are essential for improving the patient’s quality of life.

Other complications associated with diabetes

The kidney damage is one of the complications associated with diabetes, with a higher prevalence in patients with this disease, and is called diabetic nephropathy. It usually appears accompanied by arterial hypertension, so periodic control of tension is important in diabetes patients.

Poor blood sugar control can affect blood vessels in the kidneys (which tighten and clog), to the nerves in the body (which may stop sending information about when the bladder is full, creating pressure on the kidneys) and even to the urinary tract (favoring the appearance of infections that can affect the kidneys).

The vision problems are also other complications that affect diabetes patients: excess blood sugar can lead to diabetic retinopathy, one of the most common causes of blindness in adults. This happens when the blood vessels of the retina are damaged and can produce double vision, blurred vision or blemishes. These types of complications can usually be solved by surgery or with continuous treatment.

Diabetes prevention: active lifestyle

The type 1 diabetes is unpreventable and is caused by an immune system attack the body itself: it requires lifelong treatment through injections of insulin and does not subside with time.

However, type 2 diabetes is closely related to our lifestyle and can prevent its onset or at least slow it down through a balanced diet and an active life. The practice of daily physical activity, staying at our ideal weight avoiding being overweight and obese and maintaining an active lifestyle are very important factors in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, with a higher prevalence in Adults.

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