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Long-Term Complications of Diabetes

Diabetes can cause health problems over time. These are called complications. They are more likely to occur if your blood sugar is often too high. Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels. It is important to keep your blood sugar in your target range. This can help prevent or delay complications.

Outline of human figure showing heart, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves. Complications of diabetes may affect eyes, teeth and gums, heart, kidneys, sex organs, blood vessels, nerves, and feet.

Possible Complications

Complications of diabetes include:

  • Eye problems, including damage to the blood vessels in the eyes (retinopathy), pressure in the eye (glaucoma), and clouding of the eye’s lens (a cataract)

  • Tooth and gum problems (periodontal disease), causing loss of teeth and bone

  • Blood vessel (vascular) disease leading to circulation problems, heart attack, or stroke

  • Problems with sexual function

  • Kidney disease (nephropathy)

  • Nerve problems (neuropathy), causing pain or loss of feeling in your feet and other parts of your body

  • High blood pressure (hypertension), putting strain on your heart and blood vessels

  • Serious infections, possibly leading to loss of toes, feet, or limbs

How to Avoid Complications

You can avoid complications by managing your diabetes. This can help you feel better and stay healthy. You can manage diabetes by tracking your blood sugar. You can also eat healthy and exercise. And you should take medication if directed.

Author: StayWell Custom Communications
Last Annual Review Date: 1/15/2007
Copyright © The StayWell Company, LLC. except where otherwise noted.
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