Over time, diabetes can cause serious and even life-threatening complications. Luckily, you can reduce your risk of developing complications of diabetes by controlling your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes Foot Complications
Diabetics are vulnerable to a number of diabetes foot complications, including:
- Calluses: Diabetics get more foot calluses than other people, and they build up more quickly than average. If you get calluses, consider therapeutic shoes and inserts. Ask your doctor to trim any of these diabetic foot complications to avoid ulcers and infections.
- Foot ulcers: These open sores often appear on the ball of the foot or the bottom of the big toe. If you have one of these diabetes foot complications, your doctor will need to treat it right away — even if it doesn’t hurt — to avoid infection and future amputation.
- Neuropathy: Nerve damage from diabetes can be painful and make you unable to feel pain, cold or heat. This means you could injure your foot and not know until it is dangerously infected.
- Poor circulation: Diabetes foot complications like inefficient blood flow to the feet can make them more vulnerable to infection.
- Skin changes: You feet may become very dry and skin could peel and crack.
Taking excellent care of your feet can help you avoid these complications of diabetes. Your doctor can help you to keep your feet healthy, and avoid damage that could lead to amputation.
Diabetic Eye Complications
There are also many diabetic eye complications associated with this condition. Here are some of the most common diabetic eye complications:
- Cataracts: Diabetics are 60 percent more likely to get cataracts than the general population, and at younger ages too, as the American Diabetes Association reports.
- Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy covers all retina disorders caused by diabetes. Most sufferers will eventually develop one of these diabetic eye complications. Recent studies show that blindness is preventable in most cases of diabetic retinopathy with early diagnosis and treatment.
- Glaucoma: According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma than other people.
Other Complications of Diabetes
Excessive blood sugar levels can challenge many of the body’s major organs. Some other complications of diabetes include:
- Alzheimer’s disease: The less controlled your blood sugar, the greater your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Heart and blood vessel disease: Diabetics have an increased risk of atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart attack and high blood pressure.
- Kidney damage: Diabetes can lead to kidney failure or disease, which is sometimes irreversible.
- Nerve damage: This can begin in the hands or feet and spread.
- Osteoporosis: Diabetes can lower the mineral density in your bones.
- Skin and mouth problems: These complications of diabetes include bacterial and fungal infections.
Diabetic Pregnancy Complications
It is particularly important to control diabetes during pregnancy, in order to keep both mother and baby healthy. Diabetic pregnancy complications that may pass to the baby include:
- Developmental problems
- Excess growth
- Respiratory distress syndrome
- Type 2 diabetes later in life.
Doctors will typically monitor expectant mothers carefully to avoid pregnancy complications like future diabetes, preeclampsia or urinary tract infections.
American Diabetes Association. (2010). Complications. Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/.
Mayo Clinic. (2010). Diabetes care: 10 ways to avoid diabetes complications. Retrieved April 14, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/diabetes-management/DA00008.