Thursday, April 26, 2012

Does diabetes put me at risk of any other diseases or illnesses?

Aside from  the  direct  consequences of  high  blood sugar itself, which are discussed in Question 29, people with diabetes are at risk of suffering from other associ- ated diseases. In the case  of  type 1 diabetes, the dis- eases either result from the high blood sugar or from the root cause of the diabetes, which is a predisposition to   destroy  the   hormone-producing   tissues   (called autoimmunity). Thus, a person with type 1 diabetes is more  likely to  suffer  from  adrenal  gland  damage (Addisons disease), thyroid gland damage (Graves’ or, much more commonly, Hashimotos disease), and sev- eral other disorders. Fortunately, except in the case of thyroid disease, which affects about one in three peo- ple with type 1 diabetes, the likelihood of developing one of these other disorders is not high, but can be so in certain families. Most  people with type 1 diabetes are screened annually for thyroid disease. In the case of type 2 diabetes, the other diseases appear to be inde- pendent, but related. In other words, they and the dia- betes arise from a common soil in the affected persons metabolic makeup. These related diseases include cho- lesterol  and  other  blood  fat  abnormalities  (dyslip- idemia), high blood pressure (hypertension), and gout. The first two are commonly seen in people with type 2 diabetes, while the third is less so.

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