Type 1 Diabetes: Living With Complications - Topic Overview
Is this topic for you?
This topic is about
complications from diabetes, such as eye, kidney, heart, nerve, or blood vessel
disease. If you need other diabetes information, see:
- Type 1 Diabetes, if you want to learn about type 1 diabetes.
- Type 1 Diabetes: Recently Diagnosed, if you have been
told recently that you or your child has type 1 diabetes.
- Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease, if you or
your teen has type 1 diabetes. If you have not read the topic Type 1 Diabetes:
Recently Diagnosed, you may want to read it first.
- Type 1 Diabetes: Children Living With the Disease, if
your child age 11 or younger has type 1 diabetes. If you have not read the
topic Type 1 Diabetes: Recently Diagnosed, you may want to read it first.
- Diabetic Retinopathy,
Diabetic Nephropathy, or
Diabetic Neuropathy, if you want more information on
these complications of diabetes.
What is type 1 diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a
lifelong disease that develops when the pancreas stops making insulin. Your
body needs insulin to let sugar (glucose) move from the blood into the body's
cells, where it can be used for energy or stored for later use.
If sugar cannot move from the blood into the cells, your blood sugar gets too
high and your cells cannot work right. High blood sugar can harm your blood
vessels and nerves and lead to problems with your eyes, heart, feet, kidneys,
and other areas of the body. These problems are called complications.
What are the complications from diabetes?
complications from diabetes are:
- Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). It can cause
coronary artery disease,
peripheral arterial disease,
- Diabetic retinopathy. This is a type of eye disease
that can lead to vision loss.
- Diabetic nephropathy. This kidney disease has no early
symptoms, but it can lead to
- Diabetic neuropathy. This is a nerve disease that can
affect your internal organs as well as your ability to sense touch and pain,
especially in your feet. It can also cause sexual problems in both men and women.
What is it like to live with the complications?
Diabetes and its complications can change your life. Living with health
problems caused by diabetes can be a constant struggle. It is a lot of work to
monitor your health (such as foot care), keep up with your doctor appointments,
and control your blood sugar. You may not always do everything exactly right,
and it is normal to feel frustrated and sad at times. But don't give up. People
with health problems from diabetes can still live full lives. If you are having
trouble coping, talk to your doctor. Getting counseling or joining a diabetes
support group may also help.