March 3


How Diabetes Affects the Body

By Gabriela

March 3, 2023

Usually, when people hear the word diabetes, the first thing that comes to their mind is high blood glucose levels. As a matter of fact, glucose levels are usually an underestimated component of health.

When these levels are left untreated, for an extended period they might develop into diabetes.

Diabetes does is that it affects the ability of our body to use or make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to turn sugar, i.e., glucose into energy.

Who knows how diabetes can affect their health and body? Read on to find out.

Different Types of Diabetes

The effect diabetes has on the body depends on a person’s type of diabetes. There are 2 primary types of diabetes,  type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

This diabetes is also known by the name juvenile diabetes.

This is a disorder of the immune system. What happens is that one’s immune system actually attacks the beta cells in the pancreas which produce insulin.

It actually destroys the ability of the body to produce insulin. Those with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin. They are usually diagnosed as a kid or as a young adult.

Type 2 Diabetes

This type of diabetes links to insulin resistance. Usually, it happens in older adults, however recently more and more younger adults are diagnosed with it. Type 2 diabetes occurs due to poor dietary choices, poor exercise habits, and poor lifestyles.


This is an earlier phase of diabetes. One can manage prediabetes by monitoring their blood glucose levels, healthy, balanced diet, and exercising. In that way, they can prevent the disease from developing into type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

This type of diabetes i.e. gestational diabetes develops only in women during their pregnancy. They can control it with the help of exercise and diet. Typically it resolves after the birth of the baby.

Effects of Diabetes

Digestive, Excretory, and Endocrine Systems

In case the pancreas doesn’t make insulin or only produces small amounts of insulin, or if the body is not able to use insulin, there are alternate hormones that turn fat into energy.

However, that might make toxic chemicals such as ketone bodies and acids, and it might lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a condition that is a complication of the disease. The symptoms are fatigue, excessive urination, and thirst.

HHS, i.e., hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome happens in those with type 2 diabetes. It comes without ketones but with high blood sugar. A person might lose consciousness or feel dehydrated.

This condition usually occurs in those who have untreated or undiagnosed diabetes. Moreover, high blood sugar levels might lead to gastroparesis. This is a condition in which the stomach cannot empty completely.

That delay might lead to increased blood sugar levels. Therefore one might experience heartburn, nausea, bloating, and vomiting.

Circulatory System

Diabetes elevates the risk of obtaining high blood pressure. This puts an additional strain on the heart. High blood sugar levels contribute to fatty deposits and their formation in the blood vessel walls.

Over time, that might restrict the flow of blood and elevate the risk of atherosclerosis which is actually the hardening of blood vessels.

As a matter of fact, the lack of flow of blood might affect one’s feet and hands and cause pain.  This is known by the name intermittent claudication.

A person might be unable to feel the heat and feel cold in their feet because of the lack of sensation. This is known by the name of peripheral neuropathy. It is actually a kind of diabetic neuropathy that leads to lowered sensation in the extremities.

This is dangerous since because of it, one might not notice an infection or an injury.

Integumentary System

Diabetes can affect the biggest organ of the body, the skin. High blood glucose levels lead to a lack of moisture in the body and dehydration.

That can lead to cracked and dry feet. It is vital that people entirely dry their feet after swimming and bathing. Moreover, they need to pay more attention to them.

Untreated diabetes can lead to these 3 skin conditions:

  • Diabetic dermopathy – brown patches on the skin
  • Eruptive xanthomatosis – yellow bumps with a red ring
  • Digital sclerosis – thick skin on the feet or hands

Kidney Damage

High blood glucose levels might damage the kidneys and influence their ability to eliminate waste products found in the blood. In case the doctor detects an increased amount of protein in the urine or microalbuminuria that might mean that the kidneys are not functioning correctly.

As a matter of fact, kidney disease related to diabetes is known by the name diabetic nephropathy.


  • Gabriela

    Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Diabetes Health Page, Fitness trainer and instructor has dedicated her career to educating and informing people for over 10 years. As one of the most passionate diabetes advocates, Gabi has worked tirelessly to ensure that those people receive the education and support they need to properly manage their diabetes and achieve their health, fitness and weight loss goals.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}