Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Type 1 Diabetes - What Happens

It's not possible for injected insulin to work as well as a normal pancreas, so you will have high and low blood sugar levels from time to time.

If your blood sugar stays above your target range for a long time, it can damage many parts of your body camera.gif.

Eyes

High blood sugar levels can lead to vision loss and blindness (diabetic retinopathy).

To learn more, see the topic Diabetic Retinopathy.

Having diabetes also puts you at risk for cataracts or glaucoma.

Feet and skin

You may have less feeling in your feet, which means that you can injure your feet and not know it. Common infections from blisters, ingrown toenails, small cuts, or other problems can quickly become more serious when you have diabetes.

If you get serious infections or bone and joint deformities, you may need surgery (even amputation) to treat those problems.

actionset.gif Diabetes: Taking Care of Your Feet
Checklist for Daily Foot Exams
Care of Your Skin When You Have Diabetes

Heart and blood vessels

High blood sugar damages the lining of large blood vessels. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, or peripheral arterial disease.

Nerves

High blood sugar levels can damage nerves throughout your body. This damage is called diabetic neuropathy. There are three kinds of diabetic neuropathy:

To learn more, see the topic Diabetic Neuropathy.

Kidneys

The kidneys have many tiny blood vessels that filter waste from your blood. High blood sugar can destroy these blood vessels. You won't have any symptoms of kidney damage until the problem is severe. Then you may notice swelling in your feet or legs or all over your body.

To learn more, see the topic Diabetic Nephropathy.

    1|2
    Next Article:

    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
    Home Healthcare
    Video
     

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