Diabetes complications develop gradually, the risks of which get higher when blood sugar is not controlled. Diabetes complications can be disabling and can lead to death. Examples of diabetes complications are cardiovascular disease, eye damage, nerve damage, kidney failure, skin conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, hearing impairment and foot damage. A person with diabetes mellitus is more likely to suffer from a stroke and heart disease including heart attack and a coronary heart disease. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Damage to Blood Vessels
An excess amount of sugar in your blood can easily damage the walls of small blood vessels or capillaries which nourish the nerves particularly in the legs. The damaging effect manifests tingling, burning and pain that starts at the edges of the toes or fingers before spreading upwards. Worsening of these conditions due to increase in blood sugar can result to numbness or lost of the sense of feeling in the affected areas.
Nerve damage in the penis can also occur and may cause erectile dysfunction.
Damage to the kidneys or nephropathy is caused by the effects of diabetes on the delicate filtering system of each kidney. The system cleans waste from blood and the excessive sugar in blood overworks the tiny blood vessel clusters or glomeruli. This leads to an end stage kidney damage that needs dialysis and eventually kidney transplant.
The blood vessels of the retina in the eye can also be damaged by too much sugar in the blood ultimately leading to blindness. The risk of having other eye conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts is also increased by diabetes.
Poor Blood Circulation in the Feet
Nerves in the feet can also be damage after poor blood flow due to diabetes.
Untreated diabetes can lead to the development of cuts and blisters in the feet leading to infections that hardly heals, eventually leading to foot, leg or toe amputation.