Swelling in type 2 diabetes mellitus – the reasons, what to do?

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic pathological condition of the endocrine system, characterized by a deficiency of the hormone insulin and impaired absorption of glucose, which leads to an increased blood sugar content and disruption of all types of metabolism in the body. The most common symptom of diabetes is edema. And not only external (arms, legs, face), but also internal.

What is edema?

Edema is fluid retention in body tissues. Damaged vascular walls allow blood to pass through during circulation; it settles in the intercellular space, retaining fluid. In diabetes mellitus, puffiness most often occurs when taking insulin, localized on the face, legs, sacrum, heart, pancreas, perineum. There are frequent cases of brain damage. Swelling in diabetes mellitus significantly complicates the patient’s life, disrupts the work of all organs and life support systems, causes discomfort, pain, reduces efficiency, and provokes serious complications. 

More than half of all cases of edema in diabetes mellitus occur in the lower and upper extremities, only a third in internal organs.

Many patients are interested in whether there can be differences between edema in different types of diabetes. In type 1 pathology, there is a general malaise, puffiness manifests itself unevenly, more on the left side of the body than on the right. Often affects legs. With type 2 diabetes, pain is added. In women, the abdomen, face and upper limbs swell.

Causes of edema in diabetes mellitus

There are many reasons for the appearance. Among them are poor nervous regulation and insufficient blood circulation. Most often they occur against the background:

  • Arthropathy – joint damage. The first symptom is red skin color.
  • Angiopathies are lesions of the vascular system.
  • Neuropathies – damage to the nervous system.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Renal failure.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Water-salt metabolism disorders.
  • Chronic diseases.
  • Improper nutrition.
  • Pyelonephritis and urolithiasis.

Swelling of the internal organs does not have external signs, for their diagnosis it is necessary to periodically take OAM, OAK, visit an angiosurgeon and endocrinologist.

Edema symptoms

Signs of pathology vary, depending on the location of the lesion:

For edema on the background of taking insulin in type 1 diabetes mellitus, swelling of the upper extremities, feet, face, groin area is characteristic. Short-term visual impairment may occur.

What are the danger and consequences of edema in diabetes mellitus?

Untimely medical care for edema is fraught with many negative consequences. So the defeat of the lower extremities leads to deforming changes in the foot, the patient can get dislocation, fracture. The limb is shortened or, on the contrary, lengthened, gait changes, the leg turns red, grows numb, hurts, the skin on the foot dries up, becomes covered with calluses. This phenomenon is called diabetic foot in medicine. Edema has a destructive effect on the skin, long non-healing ulcers form on it, the color changes from cyanotic to red, the risk of infection and even amputation increases. Also, the patient’s nails are subjected to deformation, their shape and color change. When asked by patients about whether edema can cause death, the answer is obvious, they can. In special, neglected conditions in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary and cerebral edema are recorded. In this case, the risk of death is high.

How to treat swelling in diabetes mellitus?

Therapeutic therapy is aimed at relieving edema and normalizing the patient’s blood sugar level. During treatment, be sure to adhere to the following recommendations:

  • follow the correct diet: reduce or completely eliminate animal fats and fast carbohydrates;
  • quit smoking and drinking alcohol.

The therapy is performed in several ways. In a medical institution, drugs are prescribed, or surgical procedures are performed in order to restore damaged areas of the skin or blood vessels. Inoperable patients are amputated.

Only a doctor can answer questions about how to relieve swelling and how to treat it. Self-medication is unacceptable!

Medication for edema

Therapy should provide comprehensive support to the body, perform many functions simultaneously.

If ulcers, wounds, cracks have formed on the skin due to edema, it is strictly forbidden to disinfect them with drying agents. Alcohol, iodine, brilliant green are strictly prohibited!

How to remove swelling with folk remedies

Treatment with traditional medicine recipes should take place in combination with medication, and not replace it. Decoctions, lotions, baths and massage have shown high efficiency.

  • Pour 50 grams of flaxseed into ½ liter of boiling water, boil, remove from heat after 15-20 minutes. Let the product cool and strain after 2.5-3.5 hours. Take a healing broth three times a day, half a glass. The course is 4-6 days.
  • Mix in equal proportions St. John’s wort, hydrastis, needles and burdock. Pour 5-7 tablespoons of the herbal mixture with two liters of boiling water and after 40 minutes, lower the edematous limb into the solution. After half an hour, finish the procedure and lie down in a calm state for 25-40 minutes.
  • Dissolve a pack of salt in 10 liters of water at room temperature, saturate a towel with the solution and apply it to the lower back for a couple of minutes. Repeat the procedure 12-15 times.
  • Combine one tablespoon of castor oil, raw white and one egg yolk, three tablespoons of warmed turpentine. Apply the resulting cream to the skin, rub your feet with massage movements for 10-20 minutes, put on cotton socks and rest for 40-60 minutes.

Swelling of the legs and feet with diabetes mellitus

Swelling of the lower extremities in diabetes mellitus is not uncommon, so patients prefer to ignore this phenomenon, considering it a natural symptom of their disease. This is a fundamentally wrong decision. Lack of treatment leads to serious complications: 

  • circulatory disorders;
  • thinning of the skin, cracks, ulcers, wounds;
  • infected and purulent inflammation;
  • deformation of the joints, dislocation, fracture of the lower leg;
  • change in limb length.

The most dangerous consequence of leg edema is deep vein thrombosis. This condition is often fatal.

Puffiness does not occur spontaneously, it is always preceded by symptoms, which can be used to suspect the stagnation of fluid in the tissues, which is still invisible visually. If you find the following signs, you should immediately seek medical advice:

  • discomfort in the limbs when standing;
  • burning sensation, itching, tingling, pulsation in the legs;
  • discoloration of the skin in the ankle and foot area: pallor is replaced by red;
  • unreasonable loss of hair on the limbs;
  • dry skin, blisters, calluses.

If casual shoes suddenly become rubbed or hard to put on, this indicates the onset of an illness. You should consult a doctor.

Treatment of leg edema in diabetes

Treatment is carried out in several directions. The endocrinologist prescribes a complex of drugs that:

  • normalize blood sugar levels;
  • stop functional disorders of the urinary organs;
  • provide supportive therapy for the cardiovascular system;
  • eliminate limb pain syndrome with edema;
  • regulate hormonal levels.

In addition to drugs, ointments and gels are prescribed to reduce leg edema based on eucalyptus or mint extracts. A prerequisite for successful treatment of the lower extremities is smoking cessation. Patients are advised to have an active lifestyle and suitable footwear. It should not hinder movement, be narrow, or cause discomfort. Special orthopedic insoles are suitable. As soon as the swelling from the legs slept, the patient is prescribed physiotherapy with a magnet, UHF currents, electrophoresis, lymphatic drainage. The procedures accelerate blood circulation and prevent lymph from stagnating in tissues.

What to do to prevent edema?

What if you managed to remove the puffiness, but there is a high risk of its reappearance? The answer is simple, we need prevention. This is a set of measures aimed at preventing relapse. Performing them constantly, you can significantly increase the effectiveness of treatment, relieve swelling and reduce risks in the future. Follow these guidelines:

  • wear compression hosiery or elastic bandages;
  • take all medications prescribed by your doctor for diabetes and edema;
  • eat a salt-free diet
  • drink at least 2 liters of water per day;
  • lead an active lifestyle;
  • for swelling of the feet, use the correct shoes, special insoles.

Distribute the total amount of water throughout the day evenly. The last drink is not later than 1-2 hours before bedtime.

Swelling in diabetes mellitus cannot be ignored. This is not an ordinary symptom of the disease, but a serious signal about the ongoing pathological processes in the body. Only timely, comprehensive treatment can reduce the risks of complications and return a person to a full, comfortable life.

Prevention measures for type 1 and type 2 diabetes – how to prevent

Diseases are easier to prevent than to cure. This postulate is true for diabetes. Patients faced with “sweet sickness” know how difficult the treatment is. The disease is incurable, and any errors in lifestyle or diet inexorably lead to an increase in blood glucose. But! Doctors are confident that the correct prevention of diabetes can protect a person from a serious illness.

How to prevent diabetes

Doctors talk about diabetes mellitus as a serious and serious problem of our time. This pathology can develop secretly. Therefore, it often goes unnoticed at an early stage, and this leads to the progression of the disease and the development of complications that sometimes cannot be corrected.

To prevent negative consequences, doctors have developed a special memo for the prevention of diabetes. It includes several directions. Recommended activities are selected depending on the condition of the person.

Preclinical forms of diabetes

Prevention of diabetes mellitus proceeds most promisingly and successfully with early detection of pathology and treatment of patients in the preclinical stage. This is the period during which the external manifestations of the disease have not yet been detected. The following preclinical forms are known:

  • prediabetes – there is no symptomatology of the disease, but the patient is at risk for the development of “sweet illness”; 
  • latent form – no clinical manifestations were found, however, the glucose tolerance test shows an increase in blood sugar; 
  • mild form – mild symptoms of the disease are observed, they are confirmed by laboratory tests, metabolism is restored if the diet is followed. 

Prevention methods

Based on the identified form of diabetes mellitus, prevention will be recommended:

  1. Primary. Shown to people at risk. The main goal of prevention is to prevent the onset of diabetes. 
  2. Secondary. This prevention includes diagnostic tests and curative therapy. The main goal of such activities is early diagnosis of pathology. If diabetes is detected at the initial stage, then with the help of proper treatment, it is possible to achieve a reversion of the disease (complete or partial cure) or prevent further progression of the pathology. 
  3. Tertiary. Such prevention is practiced in case of confirmed diabetes mellitus. All measures are aimed at reducing the progression of the disease and protecting the patient from the development of complications. 

Risk factors

Diabetes mellitus develops against the background of a lack (or organ resistance) of insulin. For a healthy person to experience such violations, certain conditions must be created. The onset of diabetes can be dictated by the following factors:

  • heredity (especially if both parents suffer from pathology);
  • obesity;
  • hypodynamia;
  • cardiovascular pathology (ischemia, hypertension);
  • inflammatory processes;
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (in women);
  • severe infections (tuberculosis);
  • mature (over 40-45 years old) and elderly (after 50) age;
  • pancreatic diseases (tumors, pancreatitis);
  • improper nutrition;
  • prolonged stress, depression;
  • bad habits.

The risk group includes women who have encountered gestational diabetes (during pregnancy). Their pathology (type 2) can develop at the age of 40-45.

Prevention of type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the destruction of cells in the pancreas. The damaged gland cannot produce the required amount of insulin. Therefore, the flow of glucose from the blood into the organs (insulin performs this task) becomes impossible. The pathology is based on an autoimmune process. In other words, the immune system fails and the latter begins to destroy its own cells (pancreatic tissue).

Features of prevention

Doctors cannot say with certainty why the autoimmune process is triggered and how to reverse it. Therefore, treatment is reduced only to correcting the condition with the help of regular insulin injections. But if we talk about the prevention of diabetes mellitus, then the list of effective measures is much wider.

It is believed that the pathology is hereditary. But it is not the disease itself that is genetically transmitted, but the tendency to develop type 1 diabetes mellitus. If such a predisposition is detected in a timely manner (with the help of special tests) and the patient takes all methods of primary prevention, then the pathology may never develop.

Prevention methods

To reduce the risk of developing type 1 diabetes, doctors give the following recommendations:

  1. Breast-feeding. It allows you to minimize the development of pathology in children. It is recommended to continue breastfeeding up to 1-1.5 years. Together with breast milk, the baby receives substances that strengthen the immune system. Therefore, his body can resist harmful agents. 
  2. Prevention of viral ailments. Autoimmune processes often develop after previous illnesses (flu, tonsillitis, mumps, rubella, chickenpox). It is necessary to exclude contact with sick people. If necessary, it is recommended to wear a protective mask (in places of unfavorable epidemiological conditions ). It is also worth consulting about possible vaccinations.  
  3. Transfer of stress. The development of diabetes can be based on psycho-emotional stress. To reduce the risk of illness, it is necessary from childhood to teach the child to perceive correctly and adequately endure stress. Folk remedies are useful (valerian root, motherwort, peony). 
  4. Proper nutrition. A healthy diet is effective in preventing diabetes. Nutrition is based on protein foods and complex carbohydrates. The diet is enriched with vegetables and fruits. Sweet, flour products are recommended to be minimized. Canned, salted, pickled, fatty foods are subject to restrictions. It is necessary to refuse products containing artificial additives, colors, flavors. 

Such prevention must be complemented with feasible physical activity. Sports activities train the body’s endurance. Hardening recommended.

Prevention of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is an acquired ailment. It is characterized by insulin resistance. In this case, the hormone is usually produced in sufficient volume. Doctors believe that the main cause of the development of the disease is obesity. Accordingly, prevention implies the fight against excess weight.

Features and methods of primary prevention

With type 2 diabetes, doctors advise to inflict “crushing blows” in several directions at once:

  1. Lifestyle. Prevention of diabetes mellitus necessarily begins with the following rules: 
    • refusal from alcohol (alcoholic beverages destroy the pancreas);
    • daily walking (they reduce the tendency to obesity);
    • quitting smoking (smoking is one of the main causes of cardiovascular diseases in men, which can lead to diabetes).
  2. Correction of nutrition. Improper diet, abuse of junk food lead to the development of obesity. Therefore, people who are overweight are advised to consult a dietitian to develop a nutritional program. Once the patient’s weight returns to normal, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes decreases dramatically. 
  3. Sports activities. Feasible physical activity is another method aimed at combating excess weight. Sports activities increase the sensitivity of cells to insulin, prevent the development of cardiovascular pathologies, and reduce the level of harmful cholesterol. The following sports are recommended for people with a tendency to diabetes: 
    • bicycling;
    • swimming;
    • fitness;
    • water aerobics;
    • skiing;
    • yoga;
    • walking and jogging.
  4. Controlling blood sugar levels. In a pre-diabetic state, the patient is recommended to take a glucose test every six months. If during the next study a latent or mild form is found, the doctor will recommend conducting the study more often (according to an individual scheme). 

In the pre-diabetes and initial stages of the disease, to normalize the sugar concentration, it is enough to follow proper nutrition, maintain a healthy lifestyle and physical activity.

Secondary and tertiary prevention

If type 2 diabetes mellitus has already developed, then prevention methods include not only lifestyle and dietary adjustments, but also drug treatment. Therapy is aimed at improving the patient’s condition and protecting against the development of complications. It may include drugs such as:

  1. Metformin is an effective blood sugar lowering agent. The tablets are recommended for patients with obesity that is difficult to correct with nutrition and sports. Sometimes an analogue of Metformin , Siofor, can be prescribed (the drug is produced in three dosages of 500, 850 and 1000 mg). 
  2. Arfazetin is a medicinal preparation for preparing an infusion. The drug has an unexpressed hypoglycemic effect, therefore it is recommended only in the initial stages of diabetes. 
  3. Taurine – eye drops. They prevent the development of cataracts (a common complication of diabetes). The drug normalizes local metabolism, improves trophism, restores capillaries.      
  4. Trental is a medicine that stimulates blood circulation. It is recommended as an effective prophylactic agent in the fight against diabetic foot. 

In case of loss of sensitivity in the lower extremities, the patient is recommended careful care, including the use of a solution of chlorhexidine or Miramistin . Actovegin gel is prescribed to improve tissue conductivity. With the development of gangrene of the lower extremities, they resort to urgent surgical intervention.

It is prohibited to use medicines without a doctor’s prescription! With the wrong treatment regimen, drugs can provoke severe conditions (hypoglycemia, intoxication, coma).

Diet for the prevention of diabetes

The main emphasis in the prevention of diabetes mellitus (both types 1 and 2) is on proper nutrition. Nutritionists advise adhering to these rules:

  • you need to eat food 5-6 times a day;
  • portions should be small;
  • you should not overeat;
  • there should be no feeling of hunger;
  • preference is given to baked, boiled or steamed dishes;
  • it is recommended to refuse fried food.

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