For a person with diabetes, having high blood glucose levels is not the worst of the problem. Although high sugar levels are associated with immediate issues that are serious, such as a coma, some of the long-term effects of the disease are even more serious.
A person with hyperglycemia may develop cardiovascular conditions as a result of the high glucose levels doing damage to the blood vessels. This issue is especially common in patients who leave their condition undiagnosed or even ignore the problem. Some drugs that treat diabetes are also known to cause these harmful problems, including heart disease, heart failure, heart attack and stroke. In addition, Actos — which is a popular diabetes medication — increases the risk of bladder cancer. Actos also have other severe side effects.
Besides the risks that diabetes imposes on the heart, it also can cause damage to the kidneys. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are located near the center of the back. They are positioned just below the rib cage. There is one kidney located on each side of the spine. The primary function of the kidneys is to filter the blood. The nephrons are a set of tiny units scattered throughout the kidneys that are the actual mechanisms that filter the blood. In total, the kidneys have about a million of these tiny vessels. The chemical exchange within these nephrons is a complicated process, which consists of waste materials being taken from the blood and being transferred into the urinary system to be excreted by the body as urine.
High glucose levels within the body cause damage to the blood vessels, including the nephrons situated in the kidneys. Once damage has occurred, the body will not sufficiently be able to filter the waste materials from the blood. This results in the waste materials building up in the blood stream, since it cannot be filtered properly. Fluid will also begin to build up within the kidneys once damage has occurred.
When kidney damage occurs due to diabetes, it is known as nephropathy related to diabetes. It can be quite some time after a person develops this condition that he or she will experience symptoms. Because of this fact, the kidney problems may be quite extensive before a person is even diagnosed with this condition.
Unfortunately for patients with diabetes, kidney problems are a huge concern. In fact, the National Institutes of Health states that diabetes causes more cases of kidney failure than any other condition or issue.
Once kidney failure has happened in an individual who has diabetes, there are not many options for treatment. The patient will either have to undergo a kidney transplant, which can take some time since the patient must be placed on a waiting list, or the patient will have to undergo regular dialysis.
A person with diabetes should always monitor his or her glucose levels well. It is imperative to eat healthy and exercise to prevent kidney problems. Taking medications for hyperglycemia is also vital in slowing and preventing kidney problems. A patient who has other conditions like hypertension should also control this condition, too.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.