World Diabetes Day: Irregular Heart Beats, Kidney Disease, Cancer – Hidden Dangers Of Diabetes

By Dr Amit Gupta

In a world dominated by diseases, knowing the hidden health risks that lurk beneath the surface has become imperative. High blood sugar, commonly known as diabetes, is a complex condition affecting millions worldwide. Most people are unaware of the complications associated with diabetes and may focus only on whether the sugar levels are under control. 

While so much information is available online, it is essential to get medically verified information to gain a deeper understanding of the hidden dangers of diabetes. Your healthcare practitioner will be your Humrahi and help you navigate the health maze to uncover the interconnected web of diabetes and health, paving the way for you to achieve better health outcomes.

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The Domino Effect

Similar to a domino, diabetes sets in motion a series of complex physiological changes that can wreak havoc on your overall health and wellness. High blood sugar damages the nerves, hardens blood vessels, and affects the heart, eyes, and kidneys. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Let us understand this interplay to comprehend the true magnitude of the damage caused by diabetes.

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The Irregular Beats: Heart Conditions 

Diabetes and heart disease are interconnected conditions, with one fuelling the progression of the other. High blood sugar, inflammation, and excess body fat all conspire to damage blood vessels, ultimately leading to high blood pressure. People with elevated blood pressure levels are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and associated comorbid conditions. 

The Filter Conundrum: Kidney Disease

Medically high blood sugar is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease, as it puts immense pressure on the kidneys to filter the excess glucose from the blood through urination. This pressure on the kidney damages the blood vessel clusters and the filtering units in the kidneys while dehydrating the tissues, leading to protein spillage into the urine and causing kidney disease. 

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The Mortal Combat: Cancer 

Recent epidemiological studies have reported a correlation between diabetes and cancer, predicting pre-diabetes as enhancing cancer risk. While the relationship between diabetes and cancer is not fully understood, the abnormal insulin levels and chronic inflammation seen in pre-diabetes and diabetes have been suggested to fuel the growth of malignant cells that, in turn, increase the risk for developing certain types of cancers. 

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The Blind Spot: Eye Health

While the consequences of diabetes may often seem invisible, the impact on eye health is quite apparent. Diabetes may affect the blood vessels in the retina and cause swelling in the eye lens, leading to conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma. Without treatment, these can lead to vision loss or blindness. 

As we unravel the hidden danger of diabetes, it becomes clear that this chronic disease is not an isolated battle. Understanding and recognising the hidden link of diabetes to various diseases empowers you to take charge of your health, educate yourself and seek proactive measures to monitor your condition and prevent further complications.

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(The author is the Director, Centre for Diabetes Care, Greater Noida)

[Disclaimer: The opinions, beliefs, and views expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this website are personal and do not reflect the opinions, beliefs, and views of ABP News Network Pvt Ltd.]

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