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Diabetes-related complications

If left untreated or not managed properly, type 1 and type 2 diabetes can result in serious complications.

Having high blood sugar levels over a long period of time can damage your body's blood vessels. Damaged blood vessels prevent your blood from travelling where it needs to go. If your nerves and organs don't receive enough blood, they stop functioning properly.

Possible diabetes complications include:

However, high blood sugar isn't the only culprit—high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking also damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of diabetes complications.

Get checked to prevent complications

You and your health-care team can do several things to help you stay well. Reduce your risk of developing complications by knowing what important tests you should be getting, and how often to get them.

Test your:

  • Heart health with an ECG test every 3-5 years if required, and cholesterol levels every year
  • Feet and legs with a yearly exam or more if required
  • Kidney function with yearly blood/urine tests or more if required
  • Eyes with a yearly exam, or more if required

Mental health complications

In addition to keeping your body healthy, it's also important to keep your mind healthy. Depression is more common in people with diabetes compared with the general population.

Please talk to your health-care team if you experience anxiety, stress, or signs of depression. You can also visit our page on diabetes and your emotions for more info