Long-Term Damage: Arteries
Over time, untreated type 2 diabetes can damage many of the body's systems. About two out of three people with diabetes die of heart disease. Having diabetes also puts you at a two to four times higher risk for stroke. People with diabetes are likely to develop plaque in their arteries, reducing blood flow and increasing risk of clots. This hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Long-Term Damage: Kidneys
The longer you have diabetes, the greater the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Controlling risk factors such as uncontrolled diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol reduces your risk of developing this complication. Annual screening for kidney disease and medications, which slow the development and progression of kidney disease, are used to reduce your risk of kidney failure.
Long-Term Damage: Eyes
High blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to the retina, a critical part of the eye. This is known as diabetic retinopathy, and it can cause progressive, irreversible vision loss. It is the leading cause of blindness in people between the ages of 20 and 60. Pools of blood, or hemorrhages, on the retina of an eye are visible in this image.
Long-Term Damage: Nerve Pain
Uncontrolled diabetes, and elevated blood sugars over time, increases the risk of nerve damage. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, pain, and a pins and needles feeling in the fingers, hands, toes and feet . Nerve damage (neuropathy) can't be reversed but treatments may help pain and numbness. Nerve damage can also affect other parts of your body such as your digestive system. Controlling your diabetes can help prevent further damage.
Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
One of the most astonishing things about type 2 diabetes is that such a life-altering condition is often preventable. To lower your risk, follow the same guidelines for warding off heart disease:
Eat a healthy diet
Exercise for 30 minutes, five days a week
Maintain a healthy weight
Talk to your doctor about being screened for prediabetes
In people with prediabetes, lifestyle changes and medication can help prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes.
What is Type 1 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin
to properly control blood sugar levels.