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Diabetes Complications

Diabetes Complications


Diabetes Complications

Diabetes, if not managed properly, can lead to a variety of problems that impact practically every organ in the body. Complications of diabetes include:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Eye damage
  • Digestion problems
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Skin problems
  • Infection
  • Dental problems

Heart Disease

One of the most prevalent diabetic complications is heart disease. Your doctor may do several tests during office visits to check for heart disease and help you avoid significant heart problems. Your health care provider will assess your blood pressure at each appointment by wrapping a cuff around your upper arm that tightens to measure blood flow through your arteries. A little blood sample from your arm will be taken to examine your LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

As part of a complete medical record, a baseline EKG should be obtained. Learn more about your personal risk factors for heart disease, such as a family history of the disease or whether you smoke, and devise a prevention strategy that includes weight loss, regular exercise, and stress management, as well as maintaining normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.


Sudden weakness on one side of the face or body; numbness in the face, arm, or leg; difficulty speaking; difficulties seeing with both eyes; or dizziness are all signs and symptoms of a stroke. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consult a doctor right once. A neurologist or other stroke specialist may be referred to you. Learn more about the warning signs of a stroke and how to avoid becoming a victim of this deadly disease.

Kidney Disease (Diabetic Nephropathy)

If you have diabetes, you should get your urine tested once a year to check for diabetic nephropathy or kidney disease. To establish your kidney function, a baseline creatinine blood test should be performed. If you’re at risk for kidney disease due to high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure, you may need to be checked more frequently.

A sample of your urine will be tested for albumin, a blood protein that can end up in your urine if your kidneys are damaged.

They’ll also take a blood sample to determine your glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is a measure of how successfully your kidneys filter waste from your blood.

Your doctor will also monitor your blood pressure on a regular basis, as excessive blood pressure must be controlled in order to slow renal deterioration. You should have a reading of less than 130/80.

Diabetes can cause nerve damage, resulting in numbness, burning, or discomfort in your hands, feet, or legs over time. If your skin goes numb, you may be oblivious to little wounds that could develop into major health problems. Look for redness, calluses, cracks, or skin breakdown on your feet and hands on a daily basis. If you encounter any of these symptoms before your next planned appointment, call your doctor right away.

Your doctor will examine your feet extensively at least once a year to check for these issues. They’ll prick your foot with a little needle or tap them with a gadget that looks like a nylon hairbrush bristle. You may have nerve damage if you don’t feel it.

If you have peripheral diabetic neuropathy, you should have complete foot inspections at every doctor’s appointment.

Eye Damage (Diabetic Retinopathy)

All diabetics should see an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) at least once a year to protect their vision. The doctor will dilate your eyes as part of the eye exam so that they can see the back of your eye (the retina) and evaluate if diabetes is causing damage. Your doctor will place drops in your eyes to temporarily dilate your pupils for this test. Then doctors examine your retina and optic nerves with a powerful magnification lens. Your eye pressure, side vision, and distance vision will all be tested.

The examination is painless. However, because you’ll be light-sensitive and your vision may be impaired for a few hours, pack sunglasses and have someone else drive you home.

These annual exams should begin three to five years after the patient is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, at the age of ten or older. When a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they should have their initial eye checkup. Eye issues may necessitate more regular visits to the ophthalmologist. Women with diabetes who become pregnant should receive a full eye exam in the first trimester and continue to see an eye doctor throughout their pregnancy. (Women who develop gestational diabetes are exempt from this guideline.)

Gastroparesis from diabetes complications

Gastroparesis is more likely if you have diabetes. The nerves that control the stomach are injured and stop operating properly in gastroparesis. This causes the stomach to take too long to discharge its contents, making blood glucose control difficult. Changing your diet can sometimes help. Gastroparesis can be treated with certain drugs and treatments.

One or more of the following tests may be required:

  • Upper gastrointestinal endoscopy
  • Upper GI series
  • Gastric emptying scintigraphy
  • SmartPill
  • Gastric emptying breath test

These tests usually include you eating or drinking something, or having an imaging test (such as an X-ray) to see if your digestive system is functioning properly.

Discuss how to avoid diabetic problems with your doctor. Inquire about early warning symptoms so you can obtain treatment at its most effective time.

Erectile Dysfunction from diabetes complications

Diabetes raises the risk of erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence. Adopting a better lifestyle, such as stopping smoking, exercising frequently, and lowering stress, maybe all that is required for some men to overcome erectile dysfunction. It’s crucial to discuss your erectile dysfunction with a doctor, as he or she may be able to prescribe various treatments, such as medications, a vacuum constriction device (VCD), and other erectile dysfunction solutions.

Skin Problems from diabetes complications

A third of diabetics will develop a skin issue as a result of their disease at some point in their lives. High blood glucose levels provide an ideal environment for germs and fungi to thrive, reducing the body’s ability to heal itself. Most skin disorders can be prevented and treated successfully if discovered early. A modest skin ailment might grow into a serious problem with potentially catastrophic implications if type 2 diabetes is not effectively managed.

Infection from diabetes complications

Your body’s ability to fight infection is impaired by type 2 diabetes. High blood glucose levels result in high sugar levels in your body’s tissues. As a result, bacteria multiply and illnesses spread more quickly. The bladder, kidneys, vagina, gums, feet, and skin are also common infection locations. Infections can be treated early to avoid more serious effects.

Dental Problems from diabetes complications

Diabetes patients have a higher than average risk of significant dental and oral health issues. The more blood sugar is out of control, the more likely dental and oral health problems may develop. This is because uncontrolled diabetes weakens white blood cells, the body’s principal defence against infections in the mouth. Plaque left untreated can cause dental decay, gum disease (gingivitis), periodontitis, and tooth loss over time. So out for indicators of gum disease, such as swollen, painful, or bleeding gums. Brush, floss, and rinse with antiseptic mouthwash every day, whether you have diabetes or not. To avoid significant tooth problems, see your dentist for regular cleanings and examinations.

Other Tests for Diabetes Complications

A1c blood test

Blood sugar levels that are either high or too low are linked to the majority of diabetic problems. An A1c blood test is a crucial tool for ensuring that your blood sugar levels are in balance.

Your doctor may perform an A1c test four times a year until your blood sugar levels are stabilised. You’ll be tested twice a year after that.

Your doctor will take a blood sample from your arm or finger to determine your three-month average blood sugar levels.

If you use insulin or have high blood sugar, your doctor may advise you to test yourself at home multiple times per day. You’ll prick your finger and drop a drop of blood onto a disposable test strip, which will then be fed into a portable blood glucose metre.

A continuous glucose monitor, in which a sensor is implanted under your skin and continuously monitors your glucose levels, may also be prescribed by your doctor.

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) test

When your cells are deprived of glucose, they begin to burn fat for energy, resulting in ketones. High ketone levels indicate that your diabetes has become uncontrollable or that you are becoming ill. Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious complication that can result from this.

If: Your doctor may recommend that you obtain a sample of your urine at home and use a particular test strip to examine ketone levels if:

  • Your blood sugar levels are abnormally high (typically greater than 240 mg/dL).
  • You’re ill.
  • DKA symptoms include a dry mouth and the urge to pee often.

Thyroid tests

Hypothyroidism is a disorder connected to diabetes. This occurs when your thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones to regulate your metabolism.

In type 1 diabetes, universal thyroid monitoring is recommended.

If you have a higher risk of hypothyroidism because you’re a woman over 40 or have a family history of thyroid disease, you may be checked every 1 to 2 years.