Diabetes Complications


Diabetes Complications

The unfortunate truth: having Type 1 diabetes can significantly increase your risk for additional health problems. Potential complications can develop over time if blood glucose levels aren’t diligently managed. Some of the risks to the body are mildly irritating or debilitating while others are more serious and potentially life threatening. The good news? Keeping your blood glucose levels in check may prevent these major complications:


  • Loss of eyesight – Retinopathy, an eye complication caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina, is, unfortunately, quite common among people who experience high blood sugar levels over an extended period of time. It can occur before you notice any changes in your vision. Luckily, retinopathy that erases eyesight entirely occurs far less frequently. Eyesight loss, even in its milder forms, is less likely to occur if you’re careful to keep your blood sugar levels close to the normal baseline.

Read more about how to have Healthy Eyes.

  • Skin conditions – Bacterial infections, such as styes, boils, infections of hair follicles, and deep infections of and underneath the skin and nails are common without proper control of blood sugar levels. Fungal infections (yeast infections) are another potential skin complication, resulting in rashes that run rampant in the warm, moist creases of skin, like under the breasts, between fingers and toes, in the armpits, the groin and under the foreskin in uncircumcised men. Localized itching can also be a symptom of diabetes, caused by a yeast infection, dry skin, or poor circulation, which causes the lower parts of the legs to be most irritated.


  • Cardiovascular disease – If you have Type 1 diabetes, you’re likely at higher risk for potentially having a heart attack, stroke, chest pain or heart disease.


  • Pain and numbness in your limbs – Unmonitored blood glucose levels can cause nerve damage in the legs, feet, and hands, which might lead to pain, numbness, increased sensitivity or weakness. Treating nerve damage and protecting your body means keeping your blood glucose levels in the target zone.


  • Kidney damage – Kidneys, the body’s filters, can become seriously damaged due to unmonitored blood glucose levels. The most severe complications in the kidneys may lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a transplant.

Learn how to check for foot complications.