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What are diabetes complications?

Diabetes affects your entire body, which is why carefully managing your blood glucose levels every day is so vital to your overall health. Keeping your blood sugar levels within your doctor’s prescribed range and following your treatment plan will go a long way in preventing or delaying the onset of certain diseases that are associated with diabetes.

 

Kidney disease

People with diabetes are at greater risk for developing kidney disease. The kidneys filter blood, removing waste products. But when there’s excess glucose in the bloodstream, the kidneys can lose their ability to filter the blood and begin to leak protein into the urine. Kidney failure can result.

 

Eye disease

Diabetic retinopathy is a condition where blood vessels in the back of the eye are damaged by too much glucose in the blood. Symptoms include blurred vision, seeing dark spots or a loss of vision. Along with diabetic retinopathy, people with diabetes are also at a greater risk of developing other eye disorders, such as glaucoma and cataracts.

 

Nerve disease

With poorly controlled diabetes, the body’s nerves (the receptors that transmit messages from the brain throughout the body) can be damaged and cease to function properly. This condition, called neuropathy, can affect any part of the body, including internal organs that digest food and pass urine. The most common symptoms of neuropathy include pain, tingling, numbness and loss of feeling, especially in the hands, arms, feet and legs.

 

Heart disease

The ADA (American Diabetes Association) reports that two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke, also called cardiovascular disease. Part of the reason that people with diabetes are at a greater risk for heart problems is that the high levels of glucose in the bloodstream over time result in fatty deposits inside the blood vessels, which can clog or harden the arteries.

 

Diabetic foot disease

Foot care is especially important for people with diabetes. Diabetes complications such as nerve damage, poor blood circulation and dry skin can lead to injuries on your feet. You may not even feel these injuries since the nerves of your foot may not be functioning normally. Without adequate blood flow (due to diabetes) these injuries can take a long time to heal.

 

Sleep disorders

For people with diabetes, nighttime urination can interfere with their sleep. They are also at an increased risk for other sleep disorders, such as OSA (obstructive sleep apnea).

 

Gum disease

Excess sugar in the body makes it easier for germs to grow and form plaque on your gums. Good dental care, including regular brushing and flossing, along with regular visits to the dentist for cleaning and checkups can help keep your mouth and gums healthy.

 

Urinary incontinence

Excess weight, loss of nerve control and increased frequency of urination are all conditions associated with diabetes that may contribute to incontinence.  

 

 

 

Related articles:
Diabetes 101
What products are used to manage diabetes?
What is the A1c test?
 
SOURCES 
www.kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/kdd/
www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basic_information/eye_disorders.htm
www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/
www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/heart-disease/
www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/eye-complications/
www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/foot-complications/
www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/complications_teeth/#how
www.simonfoundation.org/About_Incontinence_Contributing_Factors_Diabetes.html
www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/diabetes-lack-of-sleep
www.forecast.diabetes.org/magazine/features/the-role-sleep-type-2-diabetes