The Dangers of Early-Onset Diabetes

Early-onset diabetes starts quite early in life, affecting children, teenagers or young adults. It could pose a great danger to the sufferer, especially because its devastating effects on the individual’s health continue for life time.
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Some of the dangers of early-onset diabetes include the following:

1. Damage to blood vessels: The individual could suffer from damage to his blood vessels as a result of high blood glucose levels.

2. Cardiovascular disease: The likelihood of the individual suffering from a cardiovascular disease associated with early onset diabetes is quite high. The two major diseases associated with early-onset diabetes include coronary heart disease (CHD), as a result of fatty deposits in the arteries; and hypertension.

3. Nephropathy: A degenerative disease condition of the kidneys known as diabetic kidney disease could occur with time and could lead to renal failure in its end stage (End stage renal disease). When the end stage renal disease (ESRD) occurs the kidney fails. When the kidney fails, the individual is as good as dead because the cost of dialysis is quite expensive.

4. Retinopathy: Deposits of sugar in the tiny vessels of the eyes and on the retina leads to progressive loss of sight or vision. This usually becomes noticeable after about 20years of suffering from diabetes. Gradually proliferative retinopathy sets in and this eventually leads to blindness.

5. Neuropathy: A degeneration of the nerves also occurs, leading to loss of feelings or pains on the extremities – hands, feet etc. This could also bring about disease of the extremities leading to gangrene, and eventually to amputation.

6. Risk of infection: Living on daily insulin injection for life could be cumbersome, and at the same time expose the patient to the risk of infection at the injection sites; which could result in injection abscesses or cellulites.

7. Poor physical and mental development: The individual is likely to suffer from poor physical and mental development as a result of poor energy supply to the organs. Since energy is needed for metabolism and growth, deprivation of the vital organs like the brain, kidneys and heart of the required daily energy, could lead to poor development.

8. Activity intolerance: The patient may also not be able to fully participate in normal activities; he may not be able to carry out tedious jobs, exercises, etc. There may also be the problem of hyperglycaemia alternating with hypoglycaemia when there is inability to strictly adhere to the food and drug regimens. This could be a source of both mental and psychological stress to the patient. These two extreme health challenges could put the patient in danger from time to time.

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