Category Archives: Complications

diabetic nerve pain and how it's caused by neuropathy

Diabetic Nerve Pain Overview

Diabetic nerve pain (DNP), nerve damage or neuropathy can be very hard to live with. It affects so many different parts of the body that most people do not even realize all the pain they have been suffering comes from DNP. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) a little more than half of people who are diagnosed with diabetes have or will develop some type of nerve damage during their lifetime. However, it is more common for those who have been suffering from diabetes for a number of years.

Diabetic nerve pain, defined as diabetic neuropathy comes in many different types but there are four main types that diabetic patients are diagnosed with: peripheral, autonomic, proximal, or focal neuropathies. To find out more about these neuropathies, we need to delve into each one individually.

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diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy: An Overview

The effects of diabetes are widespread, and this chronic disease can wreak havoc on virtually every part of the body. Many diabetics are prone to eye problems such as glaucoma and cataracts. However, the most crippling eye disorder involves the retina, a phenomenon known as diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic Retinopathy at a Glance

The retina is the tissue matter at the back of the eye which captures light sources and sends information to the brain. Retinopathy is used to define the damage inflicted upon the tiny capillaries that surround the retina. Individuals that have had diabetes for a significant amount of time are more likely to develop diabetic retinopathy. It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of diagnosed diabetics have been affected to some extent by this retinal disorder. Both Type I and II diabetics are at risk for developing retinopathy.

Chances of diabetic retinopathy increase with the following:

  • If you are of African-American or Hispanic origin
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Are pregnant
  • Have diabetes with uncontrolled glucose levels

When first afflicted by retinopathy, diabetics usually only experience slight changes in vision. This debilitating disorder can even progress without any noted changes in vision. However, as the condition progresses, significant eye problems can occur.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty seeing at nighttime
  • Floating “spiders” that obstruct vision
  • Problems adjusting to changes in light

All diabetes patients should have a comprehensive eye exam with a retinopathy specialist every year to check for any precursors to the condition. Also, if you are pregnant, an eye exam should be administered immediately and then throughout your pregnancy.

Diabetic retinopathy generally occurs in two separate types: proliferative and nonproliferative.

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (PDR)

The more advanced of the two forms, proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) occurs when abnormal capillaries grow in the optic disc or the retina. The blood vessels can also project into the clear substance that composes the center of the eye, the vitreous. Proliferative retinopathy can result in loss of both central and peripheral vision.

Nonproliferative Diabetic Retinopathy (NPDR)

Nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) occurs in the early stages of the disease. The most common type of retinopathy, there are either no or extremely mild symptoms in NPDR. The process of nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy begins when the retinal capillary walls weaken. “Outpouchings,” or small protrusions known as microaneurysms stick out from the walls of the retinal blood vessels. If the microaneurysms start to leak, blood and fluid seep into the retina. Severe NPDR can result in a disorder called diabetic macular edema, the swelling of the center portion of the retina, the macula. A dysfunction in the macula can cause an obstruction in your central vision.

Treating Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetics with nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy usually do not require immediate treatment, but it is recommended that your physician keep a check on the progress of the retina. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy, however, will require surgical treatment as soon as possible. The two treatments commonly used for diabetic retinopathy are photo coagulation and vitrectomy. It must be addressed that these treatments are in no way a cure for retinopathy; they only can slow down or assist in halting the progression of the condition. Laser treatment or photo coagulation stops the leakage of blood and fluid in the retina. This is turn slows the advancement of retinopathy, and likelihood of loss of vision. In this process, a laser will attempt to seal leakage by producing tiny burns in the sections with abnormal capillaries. Photo coagulation can be performed in either a physician’s office or an outpatient surgical unit. The goal of a vitrectomy is to remove the blood and fluid engorged vitreous. The procedure begins when sections of tissue are cut and extracted from the eye. A salt solution replaces the portions that were removed, so that the pressure and shape of the eye return to normal. Recovery from vitrectomy is significantly longer than with laser treatment, and can take several weeks.

water retention and diabetes

Water Retention

Water retention, also known as Edema, is caused by a few different reasons and is common in those who have diabetes. It might be from a mild illness or condition. Other times when someone has water retention it could mean something more serious is happening in the body.

Water retention is common in:

  • Ankles
  • Feet
  • Wrists
  • Arms

It is best to see a Doctor to make sure the cause of the water retention is not serious and that it can be cured.

Diseases in the Kidneys, Liver, and Heart are known for expressing water. People who have Diabetes and take Thiazolidinediones medications are also known to have water retention. Thiazolidinediones are commonly used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. It helps the body produce more insulin.

Thiazolidinediones can cause:

  • Weight gain
  • Edema (Swelling)

These symptoms usually go away after a few weeks of taking the treatment.

There are three types of Edema that are associated with Diabetes.

Macular Edema

Macular Edema is one of the types. It consists of swelling in the macular which is near the retina’s center. This is the area that helps a person be able to read. It is also responsible for daytime vision and color reception. Diabetic Retinopathy caused Macular Edema is a complication caused by Diabetes. It starts by the leaking of fluid from blood vessels into the macula. Eventually this can cause the person to go blind.

Pulmonary Edema

Pulmonary Edema is the second type. This happens if someone is using certain Diabetic medications and also if the person has cardiovascular problems. Treating this type of Edema consists of inserting a catheter which drains the fluids.

Foot and Leg Edema

Foot and Leg Edema is also a type that is experienced. This type of Edema can cause a high risk of non-healing wounds with someone who has Diabetes. Treatment for this type usually is with manual decongestive therapy and diuretics.

Treating Edema

It is very important to prevent Edema from happening. If it goes untreated, it can lead to serious outcomes such as vision loss if you have Diabetic Retinopathy. The main way to stop the Edema is by ceasing the source. Diabetes will not go away, but it can be controlled and taken care of. If you have Diabetes and notice swelling it may be linked to the medication you take so be sure to let your endocrinologist know right away. It can be fixed as simple as changing your medication. Having screenings routinely done will help detect if there is a serious problem before it is full blown.

Once you have knowledge of Edema it will prepare you. When your ankle or leg is swollen you should understand why it is happening and what you can do to solve the problem. It may be as simple as propping your leg high. Understanding what you can do to fix the issue will make your life easier. If water retention continues to happen for you, discussing this issue with your Doctor will help. The Doctor is knowledgeable with Diabetes and how it can cause this to happen. Being screened and aware will keep you from having water retention and other serious effects from it. Always keep your blood sugars under tight control and get exercise as this will help the overall problem and keep you in better shape.

Diabetes and Diarrhea

Diabetes and Diarrhea

Diabetic Diarrhea

Diabetes and diarrhea is actually common. Diarrhea can be caused by problems in the bowel or colon and has been noted in patients who have had diabetes for many years. As many as 22 percent of diabetic patients with longstanding diabetes have reported the occurrence of “diabetic diarrhea.”

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Is There a Relationship between DVT and Diabetes?

Is There a Relationship between DVT and Diabetes? Diabetes is a sometimes life-threatening disease that affects over 23 million Americans and is the cause of as many of one-fifth of the deaths reported each year.  In addition to the complications caused by the disease itself, such as insulin reactions, there are several other diseases and conditions that are caused by or increased by having diabetes including heart disease and an increased occurrence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) which is the formation of potentially life-threatening blood clots.  DVT & diabetes are closely linked since people with diabetes are two times more likely to develop these blood clots (Thrombus).

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Long Term Effects Of Badly Managed Diabetes

Long Term Effects Of Badly Managed Diabetes

Long Term Effects Of Badly Managed Diabetes: Of the many people who know they have diabetes, a small number do very little to control it, even though they know it is a serious health risk. Unfortunately these people don’t understand the long term damage that badly managed diabetes can produce within the body much of which, if left untreated, can quickly become a life threatening condition.

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diabetic retinopathy

Retinopathy

What is diabetic retinopathy and what do I do about it? Diabetes is a disease which is growing in number as the years progress. According to statistics produced by the American Diabetes Association, approximately 7% of the U.S. population is living with diabetes. In addition to the various types of diabetes, there are also other diseases which are caused by the presence of diabetes. One such condition is diabetic retinopathy. The following will describe diabetic retinopathy including what this condition consists of and ways to treat it so that the person suffering from such a condition can live a healthy and productive life.

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A Reversal of Vision Loss in Some Diabetics

One of the more common eye issue linked with diabetes is macular edema. This condition has typically been treated with laser eye surgery that can result in improved vision. However new research recently issued reveals that when surgery is combined with a specific drug therapy the results are significantly better causing some to suggest that the standard for diabetic eye care should be changed.

Retinal damage is a common problem with macular edema and can impact the future vision of the diabetic. While laser surgery has been a key player in vision restoration, the drug Lucentis has been shown to improve the ultimate result when administered during laser surgery.

Dr. Neil M. Bressler oversaw the study and told CTV.ca, “For the first time in 25 years, we have definitive proof that a new treatment can lead to better results for the eye health of people with diabetes. We expect the results of this study to have a major impact on how ophthalmologists treat macular edema in people with diabetes.”

According to MedicineNet.com macular edema is the, “Swelling of the retina in diabetes mellitus due to leaking of fluid from blood vessels within the macula. The macula is the central portion of the retina, a small area rich in cones, the specialized nerve endings that detect color and upon which daytime vision depends.

“As macular edema develops, blurring occurs in the middle or just to the side of the central visual field. Visual loss from diabetic macular edema can progress over a period of months and make it impossible to focus clearly.

“Macular edema in common in diabetes. The lifetime risk for diabetics to develop macular edema is about 10%. The condition is closely associated with the degree of diabetic retinopathy (retinal disease). Hypertension (high blood pressure) and fluid retention also increase the hydrostatic pressure within capillaries, which drives fluid from within the vessels into the retina.”

CTV.ca offers these findings; “Nearly 50 per cent of patients given eye injections of Lucentis along with laser treatments showed improvement in vision after a year of treatment, compared to just over a quarter of patients treated with laser alone.”

A derivative of the cancer drug Avastin, Lucentis has already shown promise in the more common optical disease, macular degeneration.

According to CTV.ca, “Researchers tested 691 patients with diabetic macular edema. They randomly received either laser treatment alone, laser plus Lucentis or laser plus another drug, a corticosteroid called Trivaris (triamcinolone). (Some had both eyes tested for a total of 850 eyes treated). The patients receiving Lucentis injections had eight or nine injections over the course of a year.

“The researchers found that those in the Lucentis treatment group showed greatly improved results, with no serious side-effects.”

The most noticeable results were discovered following two months of Lucentis therapy.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle in these findings is the current cost of Lucentis shots. Patients can expect to pay as much as $2,000 for each dose of the drug and multiple doses may be required over the course of a year. Lobbyists are already looking into ways to ask the government to make this procedure possible under Medicare laws then extend that benefit to those who already have health insurance policies.

For the purpose of this study Genentech, the maker of Lucentis, provided all medication necessary to complete the study.