Complications of diabetes
Diabetes is a complex condition which can result in long term complications. There is no such thing as ‘mild’ diabetes.
Whether diabetes is managed by healthy eating and physical activity alone, or in conjunction with tablets and/or injections, poorly controlled diabetes will cause damage to your body. High blood glucose levels over a period of time can damage the small and large blood vessels and nerves. The most common complications that occur in people with diabetes include:
- Eyes (retinopathy) (PDF)
- Feet (neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease) (PDF)
- Kidneys (nephropathy)
- Impotence (erectile dysfunction) (PDF)
- Heart & blood vessels (cardiovascular disease) (PDF)
- Gum disease (periodontal disease) (PDF)
There are many factors that impact on the risk of developing complications, these include:
- Persistently high blood glucose levels
- Smoking (PDF)
- High blood pressure (PDF)
- High cholesterol and triglycerides
- Genetic predisposition
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Duration of diabetes
The good news is that the risk of developing complications is significantly reduced by healthy eating, regular physical activity and having well-controlled blood glucose levels and blood pressure. Find out more about Staying Well with Diabetes (PDF).
Regular check-ups will also ensure early detection of complications and with prompt treatment much can be done to prevent damage from getting worse.
The key is to know what to do (PDF). To find out more about your condition and how to reduce your risks of complications speak to your doctor or diabetes educator.