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Module 5
Complications of Diabetes if Blood Sugar Remains High

Complications of Diabetes if Blood Sugar Remains High 

Diabetes and high blood sugar can damage the small blood vessels which supply your body with oxygen and nutrients. Over time, this can affect the: 

  • Heart and blood vessels 

  • Nerves 

  • Feet 

  • Kidneys 

  • Eyes 

It is essential to take control of your diabetes in order to avoid these complications. 



 The most common heart-related complications of diabetes are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. 

  • High cholesterol is a high-fat level in the blood, and it can cause various heart and vessel issues.  

  • High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. Hypertension increases the risk of all other complications of diabetes. 

  • Coronary artery disease is one result of untreated diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Coronary artery disease is a narrowing or blockage of vessels in the heart, and will greatly increase your risk of a heart attack. 


If you are diagnosed with any of the conditions mentioned above, it is important to take the mediation your doctor prescribes. 

Nerves transmit touch and pain signals throughout the body. Damage to the nerves is known as neuropathy. The feeling of neuropathy is in two categories: 

Loss of Sensation 

  • Not feeling your feet 

  • Balance issues 

  • Delayed reflexes 

Feeling of Pain 

  • Constant pain 

  • Inability to sleep 

  • Pins and needles 


Neuropathy can be a very difficult and dangerous complication of diabetes, but there are various medications available to reduce the symptoms. 


Your feet are very sensitive to the effects diabetes has on blood vessels.  

  • Your feet are usually the first part of your body to lose sensation if your diabetes is uncontrolled.  

  • Infection that may occur is more likely because of high blood sugar and poor blood circulation. 

  • Accidental injuries can be easily overlooked. Always keep your feet protected with socks and shoes, and check them daily.  


Make sure to check your feet daily and see your podiatrist (foot doctor) every 3-6 months. If you notice any sores, cuts, or cracks on your feet contact your doctor immediately. 


Your kidneys filter your blood through a series of very small vessels. These small vessels are very sensitive to: 

  • Blood sugar 

  • Blood pressure 

  • Cholesterol 


In order to prevent serious kidney damage, you must see your doctor regularly for lab work. Without regular check-ups, you increase your risk of kidney failure. Kidney failure may require dialysis which is a very expensive and time-consuming process. 



Your eyes are small organs and are made up of even smaller vessels. Damage to these small vessels can result in: 

  • Blurred vision 

  • Inability to see fine detail 

  • Permanent blindness 


Only your eye doctor can assess how healthy your eyes are. Make sure to have your eyes checked at least once per year. 

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