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Basic Knowledge

Diabetes Complications

By in Basic Knowledge

With new technology and intensive therapy, you can significantly reduce your risk for complications.

However, high blood glucose levels over time can lead to long-term complications.  Major organs, as well as the vessels and nerves that supply them, can be damaged.  Here are some of the most common complications people with type 1 diabetes face.

Cardiovascular disease – High glucose levels can be linked to higher cholesterol and contribute to damage to the blood vessels increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Kidney disease (nephropathy) – When glucose levels are high, the kidneys have to work extra hard to filter waste from the blood.  High glucose levels can damage the kidneys  and the nerves leading to them.

Nerve problems (neuropathy) – high glucose levels can cause nerve damage in the legs, feet, arms and hands .  Symptoms include pain, numbness and weakness.  In severe cases, poor circulation or infections can occur and lead to amputation of a limb.

Eye problems (diabetic retinopathy) – extra glucose causes damage to the vessels in the back part of the eye (called the retina).  Symptoms include blurry vision and poorer daytime and nighttime vision. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy causes vision loss.

Dental problems – When diabetes is not controlled, high glucose levels in your saliva can lead to plaque and gum disease.


Maintaining good blood glucose control is the best prevention for diabetes-related complications.  Talk with your doctor about routine screening that can be done to detect complications early.


Updated 2/17/19

This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.