One of the most commonly used terms in the world of diabetes is complications, which refers to health conditions that can develop as a direct result of having diabetes.
These diabetes related diseases and disorders range from those which can develop quickly into short term complications which then if not controlled over a number of years develop into long term complications.
Most people with diabetes will develop complications to some extent but it’s not a foregone conclusion. With good blood glucose control, diabetic complications may be avoided, delayed or limited to being less severe.
Short term complications
The short term complications of diabetes are dangerous health conditions which can develop quickly as a result of blood glucose levels that are either too low or too high.
The main short term complications are:
- Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State (HHS)
Long term complications
Everyone with any form of diabetes has a risk of developing serious long term complications. Long term complications typically develop after years or decades of having higher than normal blood glucose levels.
The most common long term complications are:
- Foot infection and amputation
- Heart disease
- Retinopathy (eye disease)
- Nephropathy (kidney disease)
- Neuropathy (nerve damage)
However, there are other complications caused by long term, high blood glucose levels.
The likelihood of developing these complications has been shown to increase in proportion to how high your blood glucose levels are. Large-scale and long-running research studies have shown that the higher A1c levels are above the target level, the greater chance and/or sooner diabetes complications will develop.
Therefore, keeping blood glucose levels well controlled is a very important factor in preventing the development of diabetic complications.
Other diabetes health targets which should be met to help reduce your risk of complications are blood pressure and cholesterol targets.
Attending health screening appointments is an important part of protecting against diabetes-related health problems.
Screenings help your doctor to recognize signs of damage at the earliest stage, which can either help to more effectively prevent further development or to treat the complication before it becomes more severe.
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Last reviewed: March 10, 2015 at 19:53
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