Chronic Disease: Diabetes Analysis

Pathophysiology is the study of the observable body conditions resulting from a disease. It involves the observation of the physiological mechanisms or processes happening within an organism. In fact, it is the union of pathology and physiology. This paper discusses the pathophysiology of diabetes mellitus 2 and its effects on the major body organs such as the heart and the kidney. It also provides an overview of a patient education material on diabetes.

Pathophysiology and Presentation of Diabetes

Pathophysiology of diabetes mellitus 2 involves the understanding of the physiological processes or the functional changes associated with diabetes disease. This requires the understanding of carbohydrate metabolism and the working of insulin within the body (Kampoli, Tousoulis, Marinou, Siasos, & Stefanadis, 2009).

Under normal conditions, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose molecules, which in turn increase blood sugar level. This triggers the pancreas to release insulin hormone, which breaks down glucose into energy to be used by the body cells, hence lowering the blood sugar level. However, under abnormal conditions, the blood sugar level goes above or below the recommended levels leading to complications or abnormalities in physiological processes involving insulin and blood sugar regulation. This usually occurs when insulin production is affected making one suffer from diabetes mellitus 2 (Kampoli et al, 2009).

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is characterized by abnormalities in carbohydrates and fat metabolism. These abnormalities include the peripheral resistance to insulin in the muscle cells, increased production of glucose by the liver, and abnormal pancreatic insulin secretion. The disease is also characterized by the declining of beta-cell function leading to beta-cell failure. In most patients, the disease is believed to result from a deficiency in insulin secretion due to peripheral insulin resistance.

Kampoli et al (2009) provide that the genetic and molecular reduction of insulin, and dysfunction of beta cells are not fully known. However, increase of the body-fat distribution, especially the intra-abdominal fat is considered the major determinant of insulin resistance while reductions in beta-cell mass causes beta-cells dysfunction.

The Effect of Diabetes on the Heart Organ System

Diabetes can cause severe complications to major body organs. For instance, diabetes affects the functioning of the heart leading to chronic diseases heart diseases. Typically, diabetes increases the risk of various cardiovascular diseases, which may include coronary artery disease, angina chest pain, heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Moreover, diabetes narrows the heart arteries resulting in high blood pressure (British Heart Foundation, 2009).

Insulin resistance leads to the coronary endothelial dysfunction. In addition, poor glycemic control due to diabetes mellitus increases the risk of macrovascular complications, which include the aorta stiffness. This complication increases systolic blood pressure and left ventricular mass, thus, hindering coronary filling during diastole. British Heart Foundation (2009) provides that for a diabetic patient, heart failure occurs due to the myocardial damage resulting from thrombotic event. In this case, endothelial dysfunction, hypercoagulability, and oxidation of atherogenic lipids occur.

Higher levels of sugar in the blood affect the artery walls leading to the development of atheroma. Moreover, diabetes leads to higher levels of triglyceride and low level of HDL cholesterol. These conditions result in high blood pressure. According to British Heart Foundation (2009), diabetes affects the heart nerves “making it difficult to diagnose a heart attack” (p. 12). Heart attack is normally characterized by a general feeling of unwell or sweating, which can be confused with hypoglycemic episode. This leads to delay and complications in the diagnosis of the heart disease diagnosis.

The Effect of Diabetes on the Kidney Organ System

Diabetes mellitus causes the peripheral arterial occlusive disease, which affects the renal arteries. In fact, it increases the risk of renal artery stenosis, which causes kidney nephropathy. This eventually leads to kidney transplant due to the damage caused on the tiny blood vessels that filter waste from the blood (Fowler, 2008).

Diabetes damages the numerous tiny kidney blood vessels. In case of severe damage, irreversible end-stage kidney disease results that require dialysis or a kidney transplant. Fowler (2008) provides that high blood sugar levels in a diabetic person damages the blood vessels, in the kidney, that are responsible for waste filtering (Fowler, 2008). This results in diabetic nephropathy, which leads to protein leakage into the urine indicating kidney damage.

Diabetic nephropathy results from high levels of blood sugar making the kidneys filter too much blood. The filtering overwhelms the kidney making it to start allowing traces of protein to leak through the artery walls into the urine. This eventually leads to kidney damage or complications in the kidney’s filtering ability (Fowler, 2008).

Overview of Patient’s Education Material about Diabetes

The purpose of the education material was to enable patients with diabetes to learn important lessons on self-management. Moreover, the educational material evaluates the value of providing patients with literacy-appropriate diabetes education. It also provides a counseling guideline to be used by the patients during primary care. The methods used in the educational material include counseling sessions using collaborative goals.

The education material provides that, “patients with diabetes showed improvements in self-efficacy, diabetes-related distress, self-reported behaviors, and knowledge” (Paasche-Orlow, McCaffery, & Wolf, 2009, p. 332). Furthermore, the diabetes self-management support provides a literacy-appropriate patient education material, which offers suitable information about important health-related physiological and behavioral changes across literacy levels. When using the SMOG formula, the readability levels are achievable since the educational material is not bulky.


British Heart Foundation. (2009). Diabetes and how it affects your heart. London: Greater London House publishers.

Fowler, M. (2008). Microvascular and macrovascular complications of diabetes. Clinical Diabetes, 26 (3), 77-82. Web.

Kampoli, A., Tousoulis, D., Marinou, K., Siasos, G., & Stefanadis, C. (2009). Vascular Effects of Diabetes Mellitus. Vascular Disease Prevention, 6 (3), 85-90.

Paasche-Orlow, M., McCaffery, K., & Wolf, S. (2009). Patient education and counseling. Bridging the International Divide for Health Literacy Research, 75 (3), 328–333.

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