What happens to your body cells when you have diabetes?
When you know the meaning of diabetes and the effects it has on the body, nobody will tell you that you need to take care of your body and prevent diabetic complications from developing. Many of the causes of diabetes apart from type 1 result from what you can prevent like high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and a lack of blood glucose control.
People with diabetes lack insulin in their blood and insulin is made in an organ called the pancreas. The importance of insulin is to enable glucose (blood sugar) to get into the cells of the body. You can even say that insulin is the gateway to where glucose gets into your body cells.
If there is any condition that warrants insulin to be low or absent in the blood, then the cells won’t get fed with the blood sugar they need. In case the blood sugar can’t get into the cells, they accumulate in the blood and cause various symptoms of diabetes. This kind of accumulation of blood sugar in the blood because glucose cannot get into the cells of the body, also has the effect of drawing water out of the cells which eventually shrinks the cells up making them even less healthy.
The body’s nerve cells that transmit messages to and from the brain to all parts of the body are affected a bit differently. However nerve cells will allow blood sugar to cross its cytoplasm without insulin, but the absence of insulin will prevent the sugar not to be used by the nerve cell properly and this results in blood sugar accumulating in the cell. If there is no medication to stabilize this accumulation of blood sugar in the nerve cells, over time it will damage the nerve cell and cause them to die. This can manifest in numbness and tingling in the feet and sometimes in the hands of diabetes people that suffer from this kind of condition.
Cells are the unit living organisms in the body. The aggregation of cells makes up tissue, and the aggregation of tissues makes up an organ. So blood vessels are made up of an aggregation of cells. Accumulation of the blood sugar in these cells makes them swells up thereby narrowing the blood vessel. And this narrowing of the blood vessels causes a decrease in the circulation of blood to all parts of the body especially the feet, the kidneys, and the eyes. Do you now know that people with diabetes often lose their legs their eyesight and kidney function?
Here are the breakdown details of what happens to your body if you’re diabetic.
1. HEART + BLOOD VESSELS:
Diabetes affects your blood vessels as already discussed above due to the accumulation of unused blood sugar in the cell cytoplasm, which directly affects your blood circulation and eventually your heart function. The small blood vessels in your organs as well as the big ones are not excluded.
Research studies show that most people that have diabetes also have much triglycerides and LDL (Low-Density lipoprotein) cholesterol, and too little HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol. Inflamed blood vessels due to the accumulation of unused blood sugar can trap cholesterol and form plaque, making your arteries harder and narrower. This condition is called atherosclerosis which results because the buildup of cholesterol in the arteries lowers blood flow, and requires the heart to pump blood with higher pressure. The accompanying effects affect the entire cardiovascular system.
2. BLADDER AND SEX ORGANS
One of the effects of high blood sugar in your system is that it forces your bladder to handle a lot of urine because your body retains more fluid. This can cause you to wake up many times in the night just to urinate and this kind of interrupted sleep can make you tired when finally wake up in the morning.
The nerves that control the bladder might be damaged to the extent that you won’t feel it when your bladder is full and this can result in either urine leakage, urinating too much, or the urinary muscles might be so weakened that it can make it harder for you to empty your bladder fully.
Erectile dysfunction in men is more associated with people with diabetes. The sperm cells of men with diabetes when analyzed can have problems with motility and abnormal forms. While women with diabetes are likely to have their sex drive drop, vaginal lubrication interrupted, and sex may hurt. Lowered blood flow to the nerve endings that surround the vaginal might make it harder to have an orgasm.
3. BRAIN AND NERVOUS SYSTEM
Glucose is what provides energy for the body. But when diabetes sets in and the body needs glucose to function properly, that means that your cells must work harder to use glucose. And in the process, your muscles will be tired and you’ll feel spent.
Because of narrowed and hardened arteries, the brain is deprived of an adequate amount of glucose and because the brain needs sugar to do its job, repeated bouts of low blood sugar can damage the brain.
Neuropathy is a condition that arises when the body’s nerve cell is damaged and this is common in people who’re diabetic. It can affect any part of the body, especially the lower appendages. It also affects the healing system of the body because of its effect on blood flow and the natural body’s immune system.
Retinopathy which is common in people with diabetes is a condition that slowly destroys your light-sensitive retina and macula, and this is what you need for good vision. Diabetes that is not well managed can lead to glaucoma and cataracts.
5. HEARING, SMELL, AND TASTE:
Diabetic patients not only stand the risk to lose their sense of vision, but their sense of hearing is also a thing of concern. It doubles your chances of hearing loss and it always happens in such a way that you may lose your hearing slowly so that you aren’t even aware.
The effect of diabetes on the kidney is similar to the heat in that it damaged the blood vessels in the kidneys. Not well-managed diabetics over time will have negative effects on the blood vessel walls and kidney cells, making them thicker and unable the glomerulus of the kidney to filter your blood. The inability of the kidney to filter your blood leads to the accumulation of toxins and extra unwanted fluids in your blood system.
Progressively, it can lead to a diabetic kidney disease called diabetic nephropathy. In this condition, your kidneys won’t be able to filter out waste very well. And if it is not well handled in time, it could stop working and when this happens, you’ll need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
7. IMMUNE SYSTEM
White blood cells behave like the soldiers of the body in the sense that they help us fight infection. They play a vital role in the immune system of the body and antigen-antibody reaction which is the basis of immunology will be affected if the blood is flooded with glucose.
If your immune system is affected, the healing of wounds becomes difficult. Low immunity because of diabetes prompts you to contact flu or other contagious diseases that can easily send you to the hospital.
8. SKIN COMPLICATIONS
How healthy is your skin depends on various factors. But people with diabetes because of their condition have poor blood circulation, weak immunity, or insulin resistance and all these can have negative effects on how your skin looks. Dry and itching are common and you might have spots on your skin called diabetic dermopathy. At times, some people with diabetes have red and painless patches in front of their legs. Bacterial or fungal infection on your skin is will appear often.
High blood sugar that has stayed in the body for some time can affect the digestive system of the body to the extent that it can damage the nerves in your gut that regulates the absorption of digested food. This can cause digested food to sit in your belly for hours or days without absorption into the intestine. This condition is called is diabetic gastroparesis. It can manifest in a way that you may feel stuffed and nauseated and want to vomit.
10. Swollen Gums
Because diabetes affects the immune system of the body, your ability to fight off germs has weakened, and this can result in a high risk of infection in your gums including the bones that hold your teeth together. The effect of these might lead to your teeth pulling away from your gums or your teeth may become loose, or you can even develop sores or pockets of pus.
11. Change in Mood
Nobody wants to be sick. And managing high blood sugar is not interesting, especially when you consider what to eat and what not to eat, avoidance of things like alcohol and smoking, and fluctuating blood sugar levels. All these can affect your mind and can cause you to be moody and depressed.
12.Tingling in Hands and Feet
Not well-controlled high blood sugar can lead to mild nerve damage or diabetic neuropathy. Tingling sensations in your hands and feet are common with people that have diabetic neuropathy.