How Diabetes Affects the Body?

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder characterized by an increase in the level of blood sugar. A consistently high level of blood sugar can have serious consequences for various parts of the body, including the vital organs like the heart and the kidneys. This Buzzle article will give a brief idea about how this metabolic disorder can affect the body.

Diabetes usually refers to diabetes mellitus, a condition characterized by high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. This condition can be caused by a deficiency of the hormone insulin, or a failure of the body cells to respond to insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the beta cell of the islets of Langerhans found in the pancreas. This hormone enables the body cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.

The pancreas is responsible for monitoring the level of blood sugar, and supply insulin accordingly so as to maintain the level of blood sugar within the normal range. The excess glucose present in the bloodstream is converted into fats and then stored in the adipose tissues. On the other hand, when enough glucose is not present in the body, the body breaks down stored fats to produce energy.

A deficiency of insulin, or an inability of the body cells to respond to insulin can cause the level of blood sugar to rise. Diabetes and an abnormally high level of blood glucose level can lead to several complications over a period of time. A consistently high blood sugar level due to uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes can affect the blood vessels and the nerves. This disease can literally affect any part of the body.

Types of Diabetes

Diabetes is mainly classified into three types – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes, of which type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is caused by the lack of insulin due to the failure of the body to produce this hormone. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is characterized by the inability of the body cells to use or respond to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance.

Along with insulin resistance, insulin insufficiency can be associated with type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes is the condition that develops during pregnancy. Irrespective of the type, diabetes causes a rise in the level of blood sugar, which can ultimately affect several parts of the body, and cause a number of health problems.

Effects of High Blood Sugar on the Body

The normal range for blood sugar level is less than 100 mg/dL when fasting, and less than 140 mg/dL two hours after having a meal. The effects of type 1 and type 2 diabetes on the body are more or less similar, as both the conditions increase the level of sugar in blood or cause hyperglycemia. In the long run, a consistently high level of blood sugar can affect the entire body.

However, certain parts of the body are more likely to be adversely affected by this condition. The presence of excess sugar in blood makes the red blood cells stiff, which in turn, impairs the circulation of blood. It can also cause deposition of fats inside the blood vessels. It has been observed that the tiny and fragile blood vessels of the kidneys, eyes, and the feet are more likely to get damaged due to hyperglycemia.