Long-lasting complications of diabetes develop slowly. The longer you have diabetes — and the less controlled your blood glucose — the greater the risk of complications. Ultimately, diabetes complications may be disabling or even deadly. Possible complications consist of:
- Heart disease. Diabetes significantly increases the risk of different cardiovascular problems, including coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke and narrowing of arteries (atherosclerosis). If you have diabetes, you are more likely to have heart disease or stroke.
- Nerve damage (neuropathy). Excess sugar can injure the walls of the small capillary (blood vessels) that nurture your nerves, particularly in your legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the ideas of the toes or fingers and slowly spreads up. Left without treatment, you might lose all sense of sensation in the affected limbs. Damage to the nerves related to digestion can cause issues with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, it might lead to erectile dysfunction.
- Kidney damage (nephropathy). The kidneys contain countless small blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. Diabetes can damage this fragile filtering system. Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreparable end-stage kidney disease, which may need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Eye damage (retinopathy). Diabetes can harm the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially resulting in loss of sight. Diabetes also increases the risk of other major vision conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma.
- Foot damage. Nerve damage in the feet or poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications. Left neglected, cuts and blisters can establish major infections, which often heal inadequately. These infections might eventually require toe, foot or leg amputation.
- Skin conditions. Diabetes might leave you more vulnerable to skin issues, including bacterial and fungal infections.
- Hearing disability. Hearing issues are more common in people with diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease. Type 2 diabetes might increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The poorer your blood sugar level control, the higher the risk appears to be. Although there are theories regarding how these disorders may be linked, none has actually yet been shown.
Complications of gestational diabetes
Most women who have gestational diabetes deliver healthy infants. However, untreated or uncontrolled blood glucose levels can cause problems for you and your baby.
Complications in your baby can occur as a result of gestational diabetes, consisting of:
- Excess growth. Additional glucose can cross the placenta, which activates your baby’s pancreas to make additional insulin. This can cause your baby to grow too large (macrosomia). Huge babies are more likely to need a C-section birth.
- Low blood glucose. Often infants of moms with gestational diabetes develop low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) quickly after birth because their own insulin production is high. Prompt feedings and in some cases an intravenous glucose service can return the baby’s blood glucose level to normal.
- Type 2 diabetes later on in life. Babies of moms who have gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing weight problems and type 2 diabetes later in life.
- Death. Neglected gestational diabetes can lead to a baby’s death either before or quickly after birth.
Complications in the mom can also happen as an outcome of gestational diabetes, consisting of:
- Preeclampsia. This condition is defined by hypertension, excess protein in the urine, and swelling in the legs and feet. Preeclampsia can lead to serious and even lethal complications for both mom and baby.
- Subsequent gestational diabetes. As soon as you’ve had gestational diabetes in one pregnancy, you’re most likely to have it once again with the next pregnancy. You’re likewise most likely to develop diabetes — generally type 2 diabetes — as you age.
Complications of prediabetes
Prediabetes may become type 2 diabetes.
Also read: Diabetes and Blurred Vision