Complications of Diabetes
Diabetes is a debilitating disease which can affect every cell and every system of our body if not treated or managed well.
If diabetes is not treated or managed well, then a patient may suffer hypoglycaemia (hypo) when blood sugar levels fall dangerously low. If a 'Hypo' is not treated quickly then it may result in a coma or even death.
Diabetes-related complications start small but get bigger.
Over time complications develop without most people knowing – gradually the blood vessels all over the body become damaged. This means that the many tiny cells which they take blood to also become damaged.
Blood vessel damage leads to problems with the organs they supply for example, eye damage can lead to blindness if left untreated; the skin on the toes and feet degrades and can get gangrenous; the kidneys can start to fail; blood vessels supplying the brain and heart can become damaged which can lead to stroke and heart attack.
In people with diabetes, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) of the blood vessels happens very rapidly – this is another complication that can lead to heart attack and stroke quite quickly if the disease is not well-managed.
- Rizwana Kousar 2010. What is Diabetes? Community Education Series, Melbourne. © Australian Community Centre for Diabetes (ACCD).
- Arthur C. Guyton and John E. Hall 2006. Text Book of Medical Physiology, 11th Edition.