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What Are the Side Effects of Diabetes?

Diabetics may lose weight unexpectedly and be highly susceptible to infection.
Methylcobalamin tablets, which are used to treat diabetic neuropathy.
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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 25 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Diabetes is a disease that can affect many parts of the body. Common side effects of diabetes include foot problems, such as diabetic neuropathy and dangerous infections. A diabetic patient may be inflicted with a skin condition known as diabetic dermopathy. The chance of having a stroke also increase, and it becomes a likely cause of death. Furthermore, if a patient develops a metabolic disorder called Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS), there is a risk that he or she may die if not properly treated.

One of the common side effects of diabetes is foot problems, such as that caused by diabetic neuropathy. When a person has this condition, the nerves in his or her feet die, meaning there is no feeling where there are dead nerves. This can occur either in the whole foot or in one area, such as the toes. The nerve death can lead to cracking skin, calluses, and dangerous ulcers.

Ulcers are dangerous because they are highly susceptible to infection. This can be especially problematic for a person with diabetes. In many instances, diabetics experience poor circulation of blood to the feet. As a result, the feet’s ability to return to a healthy state is reduced. In some cases, the inability to heal leads to the need for amputation.

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A person with diabetes may also develop diabetic dermopathy. When this happens the person will get scaly patches of skin that can range in color from red to blackish-brown. The problem may arise on the forearms or feet, but the most common location is on the shins, which is why the condition is sometimes referred to as shin spots. Apart from being visually unattractive, dermopathy does not normally cause any dangerous health problems.

Another of the side effects of diabetes is the increased chances of a stroke. When a person has a stroke, he or she suffers from a condition in which blood flow to the brain is interrupted. This can damage brain tissue and result in temporary or permanent paralysis. Strokes are considered one of the primary causes of death for diabetics.

HHNS is a rare side effect of diabetes with which sufferers should be acquainted, as this condition can be fatal if not properly treated. HHNS causes the body’s blood sugar level to rise sharply. The body will attempt to rid itself of the excessive sugar by prompting urination. When this condition is left untreated, an individual tends to become so severely dehydrated that he or she may go into a coma or have seizures.

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