No matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems.
Long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. The longer you have diabetes — and the less controlled your blood sugar — the higher the risk of complications.
Common complications of diabetes
1. Cardiovascular disease
Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain, heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries.
2. Nerve damage
Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels that nourish your nerves, especially in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward.
Left untreated, you could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.
For men, it may lead to erectile dysfunction.
3. Kidney damage
The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this delicate filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Diabetes damages the blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. It is the most common cause of blindness among people with diabetes.
People living with diabetes have increased risk of other serious vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop serious infections, which often heal poorly.
These infections may ultimately require toe, foot or leg amputation.
6. High risk pregnancy
In gestational diabetes, the mother is at risk of developing pre-eclampsia.
Pre-eclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure, excess protein in the urine, and swelling in the legs and feet.
Pre-eclampsia can lead to serious or even life-threatening complications for both mother and baby.
Depression is one of the most common complications of chronic diseases.
People who have chronic diseases must adjust to both the illness and its treatment. The illness may affect a person’s ability to move, their independence, interrupts their normal life and the way one sees themselves or interacts with others.
These changes can be stressful and cause a certain amount of despair or sadness that is normal.
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