Complications of Diabetes

All types of diabetes carry risk of long-term complications. These usually worsen after 1-2 decades, and most of the long-term complications are related to damage to blood vessels. The risk of cardiovascular disease can be doubled by diabetes. The major "macrovascular" diseases are stroke, ischemic heart disease, and peripheral vascular disease.

Diabetic nephropathy may lead to scarring changes in the kidney tissue, loss of small or gradually larger amounts of protein in the urine, and finally chronic kidney disease. Diabetes can also damage the capillaries, which leads to microangiopathy. Diabetic retinopathy, which impacts blood vessel formation in the retina of the eye, can cause visual symptoms including visual loss and potentially blindness.

Another danger is diabetic neuropathy, the impact of diabetes on the nervous system. It most typically causes tingling, numbness, and pain in the feet and doubles the risk of skin damage due to altered sensation. Neuropathy also increases the risk of diabetes-related foot problems and vascular disease in the legs. Meanwhile, proximal diabetic neuropathy is responsible for painful muscle wasting and weakness.