Diabetes Complications

People with diabetes are at high risk for a number of complications if it isn’t properly controlled. Preventing complications at an early stage is an important reason to match insulin delivery to need. All of the complications associated with diabetes – neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy, and some heart problems – develop in the pressence of high blood sugars. Most complications do not have apparent symptoms until they have become quite severe, and then careful control can only delay further damage at best. Reversal of damage may be possible if a problem is caught early, but prevention pays healthier rewards.

Controlling risk factors other than high blood sugars is also important. Reducing fat and protein intake to the amount needed nutritionally, lowering elevated blood pressure, exercising, improving the diet in general, avoiding smoking, and controlling cholesterol levels have all shown benefits in reducing complications.

Organs that can be plagued by complications include:


Damage to the eye is the most feared complication of diabetes. And no wonder: the eye is the one inch spherical marvel that gives us vision. Total blindness in diabetes is uncommon since just under 2% of people with IDDM actually suffer total vision loss. However, the fear of losing one’s sight is strong, as anyone with diabetes who’s had a change in vision can testify.

Changes At Diagnosis | Background Retinopathy | Preproliferative Retinopathy | Proliferative Retinopathy | Macular Edema | Cataracts | Why Damage Occurs


Foot problems in diabetes can be caused by damage to both large and small blood vessels, which is much more common in diabetes. Foot problems, including nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy, usually begin with vascular disease. Learn about various foot problems and what to do about them.


Skin complications can vary in people with diabetes. Necrobiosis Lipoidica, Dermopathy, Fungal Infections are just a few possibilities. According to the ADA, as many as 33 percent of people with diabetes will have a skin disorder caused or affected by diabetes at some time in their lives.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death among people with Type 2 diabetes. The risk of death from CVD is twice as high for men and six times higher for women with diabetes than for people without diabetes. Most people with Type 2 diabetes suffer from the Insulin Resistance Syndrome (IRS), which can include insulin resistance, high blood sugar, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems.

Kidney Disease Prevention

A healthy kidney cleans the blood by filtering out waste products which are then routed to the urine. Over time, high blood sugars can damage the cells and tiny blood vessels that perform this cleansing. The result is a damaged kidney that routes waste back into the body and releases excess amounts of protein into the urine. Symptoms of kidney failure are fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Kidney Disease, stages and reversal

Kidney disease is the most devastating complication of diabetes. Measurable kidney damage is found in 43 percent of Type 1 diabetics who have had their disease longer than five years and in 25 percent of those with Type 2 diabetes for 12 years. Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States. One out of every 100 people with diabetes at any time is in kidney failure (dialysis or transplant).

Diabetic Neuropathy

Neuropathy represents the most common complication of diabetes. Neuropathy appears to be caused by damage to small blood vessels. Nerves depend on multiple tiny vessels that carry nutrients and oxygen to keep each and every segment of these very long nerves intact. Damage to one small segment can result in loss of feeling, pain or burning sensations that bother the feel and legs.

Celiac Disease

Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects nearly one in every hundred people in the United States. Many people, 97%, remain undiagnosed and untreated. These people may cosult doctors who prescribe drugs, diets or therapies for some of the symptoms that may work for awhile. In the US today, the average length of time a person has Celiac Disease before it is diagnosed is nine years. Most people are diagnosed in their 40’s through 60’s.

Duputryen’s Contractor

Dupuytren’s Contracture (DC) is an abnormality of collagen under the skin of the hand from the palm to the fingers. This collagen forms nodules that are rich with myofibroblasts that promote new cell growth. and then shortens, pulling fingers toward the palm so that the fingers can not straighten and the hand cannot open or flatten. The ring finger is the most commonly affected finger in DC, followed by the little finger, although all the fingers can be bent.

Also see:

Why are only certain organs damaged

Frozen shoulder in Diabetes

Clinical Trials

Find the latest treatment for an existing complication in these Clinical Trials.