Seven Things You Didn't Know About Microangiopathy

Diabetes is the most common cause of adult kidney failure in the developed world. Diabetic neuropathy, abnormal and decreased sensation, usually in a 'glove and stocking' distribution starting with the feet but potentially in other nerves, later often fingers and hands. Neuropathy can lead to diabetic foot (see below).

Seven Things You Didn't Know About Microangiopathy
Microangiopathy

The damage to small blood vessels leads to microangiopathy, which can cause one or more of the following:

Diabetic nephropathy, damage to the kidney which can lead to chronic kidney disease which may eventually require renal dialysis. Diabetes is the most common cause of adult kidney failure in the developed world.

Diabetic neuropathy, abnormal and decreased sensation, usually in a 'glove and stocking' distribution starting with the feet but potentially in other nerves, later often fingers and hands. Neuropathy can lead to diabetic foot (see below). Other forms of diabetic neuropathy may present as mononeuritis or autonomic neuropathy. Diabetic amyotrophy is muscle weakness due to neuropathy.

Diabetic retinopathy, growth of friable and poor-quality new blood vessels in the retina as well as macular edema (swelling of the macula), which can lead to severe vision loss or blindness. Retinopathy is the most common cause of blindness among non-elderly adults in the developed world.

Diabetic encephalopathy is the increased cognitive decline and risk of dementia, including (but not limited to) the Alzheimer's type, observed in diabetes. Various mechanisms are proposed, like alterations to the vascular supply of the brain and the interaction of insulin with the brain itself.

Diabetic cardiomyopathy, damage to the heart muscle, leading to impaired relaxation and filling of the heart with blood (diastolic dysfunction) and eventually heart failure; this condition can occur independently of damage done to the blood vessels over time from high levels of blood glucose.

Erectile Dysfunction: Estimates of the prevalence of erectile dysfunction in men with diabetes range from 20 to 85 per cent when defined as consistent inability to have an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. Among men with erectile dysfunction, those with diabetes are likely to have experienced the problem as much as 10 to 15 years earlier than men without diabetes.

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is associated with diabetes which may make diabetes more difficult to treat. A number of trials have found improved blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics who have undergone periodontal treatment.

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