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Snake Bite Complications for Diabetics

While only about 15% worldwide of over 3000 species of snakes are poisonous, some venom of snakes are dangerous which can cause death due to intoxication. Among the snakes species that are most lethal is the pit viper. The venom of snakes has systemic effects such as coagulopathy characterized by local tissue damage, hemolysis and defects in the functioning of the heart, nerves and the kidney.

The venom changes the capillary membrane permeability, that results to the leakage of electrolytes, albumin, and red blood cells through the vessel which can result to edema or the swelling of the body organs (e.g. heart) resulting to its failure, Hypovolemia or the decreased volume of circulating blood in the body, Bleeding and kidney failure. Kidney failure can be caused by abnormally low blood pressure, the rupture or destruction of red blood cells, rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle due to tissue injury and toxicity of the kidney.

Since diabetic patients are at risk with kidney failure because high blood sugar tends to overwork the kidneys, a snake bite in a diabetic person can be much more risky. Since the kidneys of a diabetic person is already vulnerable to renal failure, a simple snake bite can easily trigger the failure of the kidneys the effects of the venom. As such, a simple snake bite to a diabetic may not be easily be treated by a simple injection of an anti-venom. While the anti-venom can successfully neutralize the effects of a snake’s poison for a diabetic patient, the damage that the venom has already caused to the body may be too late to reverse. As such, special attention and rapid treatment must be given for snakebites to patients with diabetic medical condition.

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