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Diabetes Health Center

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How to Prevent Diabetes Complications

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Eye Damage (Diabetic Retinopathy)

To protect your vision, see an eye doctor at least once a year. He should dilate your pupils while you're there. People with type 1 diabetes who are older than 10 should start these visits within 3 to 5 years of diagnosis. If you have type 2 diabetes, make an appointment as soon as you’re diagnosed. If you have problems, you’ll need to go more often. If you get pregnant, schedule a comprehensive exam during the first trimester and a follow-up later in your pregnancy.

For more detail, see Diabetic Retinopathy.


Diabetes can damage the nerves that control your stomach so they stop working properly. Known as gastroparesis, this condition causes it to take too long to empty. That makes it hard for you to manage blood sugar levels. Sometimes a change in diet can help. There are medications and other treatments, too.

For more detail, see Gastroparesis and Other Stomach Problems With Diabetes.

Erectile Dysfunction

Diabetes makes men more likely to get erectile dysfunction or become impotent. Sometimes all you need to do is adopt a healthier lifestyle, quit smoking, exercise regularly, and reduce stress. It's important to talk to your doctor about these problems. He can suggest medications or remedies like a vacuum constriction device and other products.

For more detail, see Erectile Dysfunction & Diabetes.

Skin Problems

Many people with diabetes will have a skin condition related to it at some time in their lives. The sugar in your blood provides a perfect breeding ground for bacteria and fungi. It also lowers your body's ability to heal itself. Fortunately, most of these problems can be prevented and treated if caught early on. If you have type 2 diabetes and don’t take care of yourself, a minor scratch could turn into a serious infection.

For more detail, see Skin Problems in Diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes slows your body's ability to fight infection. High sugar levels in your body's tissues means bacteria grow more easily and infections set in more quickly. Common sites for them are your bladder, kidneys, vagina, gums, feet, and skin. Early treatment can prevent serious complications.

For more detail, see Diabetes and Infection.

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