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 associated diseases. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the diseases 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 (Addison's disease), thyroid gland damage (Graves' or, much more commonly, Hashimoto's disease), and several other disorders. Fortunately, except in the case of
A predisposition to produce autoantibodies.
Cholesterol and other blood fat abnormalities.
thyroid disease, which affects about one in three people 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 independent, but related. In other words, they and the diabetes arise from a common soil in the affected person's metabolic makeup. These related diseases include cholesterol and other blood fat abnormalities (dyslipidemia), 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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