Type 1 Diabetes
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 Reference damage many parts of your body Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window.
High blood sugar levels can lead to vision loss and blindness (diabetic retinopathy).
To learn more, see the topic Reference 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. Reference 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 Reference amputation) to treat those problems.
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.
High blood sugar levels can damage nerves throughout your body. This damage is called diabetic neuropathy. There are three kinds of diabetic neuropathy:
- Reference Diabetic peripheral neuropathy. This is damage to the nerves that sense pain, touch, hot, and cold. This type of nerve damage can lead to deformities such as Reference Charcot foot Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. It can also lead to other problems that may require amputation.
- Reference Autonomic neuropathy. This is damage to nerves that control things like your heartbeat, blood pressure, sweating, digestion, urination, and sexual function.
- Reference Focal neuropathy. Most of the time, this affects just one nerve, usually in the wrist, thigh, or foot. It may also affect the nerves of your back and chest and those that control your eye muscles.
To learn more, see the topic Reference Diabetic Neuropathy.
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 Reference Diabetic Nephropathy.
High blood sugar can damage the small blood vessels and nerves in the ear, causing hearing loss.
Gum disease can make it harder to keep blood sugar in a target range. And high blood sugar can cause gum disease, loss of teeth, and healing problems in the mouth.
The stress of dealing with diabetes or the effects that diabetes has on your body can lead to depression.
Being depressed can make it hard to eat healthy foods and to find the motivation to exercise. All of these things lead to higher blood sugar. By getting help for depression, you'll feel better and may find it easier to stay motivated.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 11, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology