Diabetes is an ailment resulting to the buildup of glucose in the vascular system. There are 3 basic forms of diabetes – type I, type II and gestational.
- Type I is diagnosed during adolescence and described as a defect in the pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
- Type II is the insulin-resistant type and develops later in life.
- Gestational only arises during pregnancy.
It is important to note that there are lasting complications linked with diabetes such as gangrene and necrosis.
Risk for vascular disease among those with diabetes
One of the main complications linked with all forms of diabetes is vascular disease. The condition involves the constriction or blockage in the normal flow of blood needed to supply the limbs with the essential nutrients.
If not treated, the cells inside the tissues start to die due to necrosis. Once necrosis occurs, the cells become swollen and rupture where they spill out their contents into the tissue, resulting to inflammation. If sufficient tissue expires due to necrosis, gangrene develops and might require amputation.
Due to the presence of vascular disease and the diminished blood flow to the extremities, individuals with diabetes might end up with peripheral neuropathy.
The nerve damage in the limbs can cause loss of sensation. The damage lowers the ability to sense pain and might also lead to motor sensory damage that can make movement difficult. The lack of pain sensation makes an individual prone to injury and infection which eventually leads to necrosis or gangrene.
The cells lining the blood vessel walls generate nitric oxide which is a vital regulator of the expansion of blood vessels. If diabetic, the levels of nitric oxide are significantly increased, thus adding up to the constriction of the blood vessels as well as necrosis.
Once the blood glucose level is high or hyperglycemia, the radicals free from oxygen increases. These free radicals respond with nitric oxide which leads to its degradation.
In addition, individuals with diabetes have higher levels of free fatty acids which also adds up to the generation of oxygen-derived free radicals. The oxidative stress from the oxygen free radicals can also directly trigger cell necrosis.