Skip to content

    Diabetes Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Complications From Diabetes - Topic Overview

    A person is at risk for diabetes complications if blood sugar levels are often above a target range for a long period of time.

    Whether complications develop also may be affected by:

    Recommended Related to Diabetes

    Diabetes Wound Care Checklist: What's in Your First Aid Kit?

    Injuries that are minor in a healthy person can have severe consequences when you have diabetes, so good wound care is essential. Because of reduced circulation and problems with sensation (neuropathy), people with diabetes are at a much higher risk for complications from ordinary, everyday cuts and scrapes.

    Read the Diabetes Wound Care Checklist: What's in Your First Aid Kit? article > >

    Keeping blood sugar at a target range lowers the risk for complications.

    People who have diabetes are at risk for blood vessel and nerve damage. They can develop one or several complications.

    Blood vessel damage

    High blood sugar causes changes in hormones and cells that can damage blood vessels or nerves, or both. Damaged blood vessels are more likely to build up plaque, increasing the risk of coronary artery disease, heart attack, and stroke. When large blood vessels are affected, complications are called macrovascular disease. Damage to small blood vessels can lead to loss of vision, kidney disease, and nerve problems throughout the body. When small blood vessels are affected, the condition is called microvascular disease.

    Nerve damage

    Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy) can decrease or completely block the movement of nerve impulses or messages through organs, legs, arms, and other parts of the body. Nerve damage can affect your internal organs and your ability to feel pain when you are injured.

    • Diabetic autonomic neuropathy occurs when nerves that control involuntary functions-such as those of the heart, digestive tract, urinary tract, and sex organs-have been damaged.
    • Diabetic peripheral neuropathy occurs when the nerves that detect sensation (including pain and position) become damaged. Peripheral neuropathy usually affects longer nerves first, for example, the nerves going to the legs and feet.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Complications From Diabetes Topics

    Today on WebMD

    Diabetic tools
    Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
    woman flexing muscles
    10 strength training exercises.
     
    Blood sugar test
    12 practical tips.
    Tom Hanks
    Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
     
    kenneth fujioka, md
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Article
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    jennie brand miller
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    feet
    Slideshow