Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Type 2 Diabetes - What Happens

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body still makes insulin. But as time goes on, your pancreas may make less and less insulin, which will make it harder to keep your blood sugar in your target range. If your blood sugar gets too high and stays too high for too long, your risk for other health problems increases. Over time, high blood sugar can damage many parts of your body camera.gif.

Eyes

High blood sugar levels may cause temporary blurred vision. Blurry vision, floaters, or flashes of light may be a sign of diabetic retinopathy, which can cause severe vision loss.

To learn more, see the topic Diabetic Retinopathy.

Feet and skin

You may have less feeling in your feet, which means that you can injure your feet and not know it. Blisters, ingrown toenails, small cuts, or other problems that may seem minor can quickly become more serious. If you develop serious infections or bone and joint deformities, you may need surgery (even amputation) to treat those problems. Common infections can quickly become more serious when you have diabetes.

Heart and blood vessels

High blood sugar damages the lining of blood vessels. This can lead to stroke, heart attack, or peripheral arterial disease. Erection problems can be an early warning sign of blood vessel disease and may mean a higher risk of heart 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.

    1|2
    Next Article:

    Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

    Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
    What type of diabetes do you have?
    Your gender:

    Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


    or
    Answer:
    Low
    0-69
    Normal
    70-130
    High
    131+

    Your level is currently

    If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

    People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

    Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

    However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

    Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

    Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

    One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

    Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
    Affect Your Blood Sugar?

    Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
    how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

    Get Started

    This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

    Start Over

    Step:  of 

    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.
     
    Woman serving fast food from window
    Video
    Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
    Video
     
    Middle aged person
    Tool
    are battery operated toothbrushes really better
    Video
     

    Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
    Article
    type 2 diabetes
    Slideshow
     
    food fitness planner
    Tool
    Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
    Article