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disease information

Long-term effects and complications

The most common long-term effect of type 2 diabetes is damage to blood vessels. Because of this, people with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.

Besides damage to the blood vessels, chronic diabetes may also lead to the following complications:1

  • Eye problems including retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, or cataracts
  • Foot problems: These are primarily due to circulation difficulties, which can result in skin infections or deformities to the foot. Because diabetes can damage nerves, you may not feel an injury to the foot until a sore or infection develops.
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Kidney disease, also known as diabetic nephropathy
  • Nerve damage, also known as diabetic neuropathy

One of the most difficult long term effects to come to terms with if you have chronic diabetes is that the disease is for life. This means that in most cases you’ll need to permanently adjust your lifestyle in order to prevent it from getting worse, and to minimise the chance of complications.1

If you have type 2 diabetes you will need to look after your health carefully:1

  • Have regular reviews with your diabetes care team
  • Eat healthily
  • Exercise regularly
  • Do not smoke
  • Limit alcohol
  • Keep well - get a regular flu jab and Pneumococcal vaccination

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Last Updated 27/11/2013 16:00:34