Diabetes Complications

Individuals with diabetic conditions are at increased risk of developing complications of the kidneys, feet, eyes, heart, nerves and the bones. It can also include long-term complications affecting the skin, create sexual dysfunction and problems with the teeth. This can occur with the long periods of high glucose in the blood which can create these disabling or life-threatening complications. With the appropriate treatment to maintain the blood glucose levels, blood pressure and cholesterol along with certain lifestyle changes, several cases can prevent or delay the onset of complications.

 Diabetic nephropathies

This is one of the complications of individuals with diabetes that progressively affects the kidneys. Individuals with the untreated form of diabetes have high blood sugar levels and high blood pressure which affects the delicate filter system of the kidneys. The initial stage may not present any symptoms but the later stage can include protein in the urine, fatigue from lack of oxygen, swelling of the feet and hands from fluid retention and dark colored urine. Medications can lower the blood glucose level, blood pressure and cholesterol which can all contribute to delaying or preventing the kidney dysfunction. The advanced state of this condition is known as the end-stage renal disease which may require dialysis or kidney transplant for eligible candidates.

Diabetic retinopathy

This type of complication affects the blood vessels in the retina and is one of the common causes of impaired vision among the diabetic individuals. The symptoms can develop as mild vision problems that can result in blindness if left untreated. The high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all the main causes of developing diabetic retinopathy. This can cause leakage from the blood vessels in the retina and scarring which can impair the vision. The advanced form of this condition can create the retinal detachment that can result in permanent vision loss. It can be managed with regular vision examination along with monitoring the sugar and lipid levels.

Diabetic neuropathy

When the blood pressure and glucose levels are high, it can damage the nerves throughout the body causing various abnormalities associated with the digestion, sexual function and other complications. The peripheral neuropathy is the condition that develops in the legs that can cause symptoms such as burning, pain, tingling sensation and numbness that may begin at the tip of the digits and spread upwards. Individuals with a diabetic condition are at increased risk of possible amputation as the result of serious infection.

Cardiovascular disease

Complications from diabetes can cause life-threatening conditions such as coronary artery disease with chest pain, narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack and stroke. This develops as the result of elevated levels of blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol. This is estimated to be one of the common causes of death among the diabetic cases.

Pregnancy complications

Several women have gestational diabetes during pregnancy which when left untreated can create various complications for the mother and the child. It is essential to maintain normal blood sugar level to prevent complications such as organ damage to the fetus, excess weight of the baby and the risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in the child’s life.  The complications of the mother as the result of gestational diabetes include preeclampsia that presents high blood pressure and high level of protein in the urine along with swelling of the legs and feet.