The long term complications of diabetes mellitus are many, but most of them can be prevented or delayed by properly managing the disease. Repeated spikes in blood sugar (hyperglycemia) over a long period of time are what eventually lead to the long term complications of diabetes mellitus. If a person maintains a lifestyle of healthy blood glucose levels, they will be much less likely to experience the most devastating effects of diabetes. Because diabetes can have a negative effect on the tiny blood vessels housed throughout the body, some vital organs do not get the nourishment and blood flow they need to function properly. When this happens, the eyes, kidneys and heart are at risk. The nerves and gums are also susceptible to experiencing long-term complications of diabetes mellitus.

The eyes can experience retinopathy, cataracts or glaucoma as a result of diabetes. These conditions can lead to irreversible vision loss. Retinopathy takes place when the light-sensitive retina changes or experiences abnormal growth of small blood vessels. Although retinopathy may not show symptoms at first, they become more prevalent as the condition worsens. Glaucoma is another one of the most serious long term complications of diabetes mellitus. It is caused when pressure builds up inside of the eye, causing damage to the optic nerve and retina. Like retinopathy, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness. A cataract occurs when the eye’s lens becomes clouded or thickened, causing impaired vision. Often, a cataract will cause poor night vision, but they may also begin to interfere with a person’s day vision. Cataracts can be one of the long term complications of diabetes, but they can also be removed with surgery.

Another one of the most serious long term complications of diabetes mellitus is kidney problems. When a person’s kidneys begin to fail, they may need dialysis treatment or require a kidney transplant. A person with diabetes is also is at an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack or a stroke, which can cause long term complications of diabetes mellitus, and even death. Poor circulation caused by diabetes can cause slow healing for sores and cuts. When these lesions on the skin go unnoticed or untreated, they can develop into ulcers. If infection sets in, a person may have to have a limb amputated.


How to Avoid Long Term Complications of Diabetes Mellitus


The above examples of the long term complications of diabetes mellitus demonstrate the importance of keeping diabetes in check. When a person is diagnosed with diabetes, eating and exercise habits should be modified immediately. Hiring a nutritionist is a good way to help people eat healthier. Avoiding foods that have a high glycemic index is an essential part of maintaining a normal blood sugar level. Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is another way to keep blood glucose levels in a healthy range. This may include taking a brisk walk or taking a beginner’s yoga class a couple of times a week. A person who has diabetes should also make regular visits to the doctor for a check-up and take all prescribed medicines as directed. An annual eye exam is highly recommended for people living with diabetes. Diabetes is a disease that can cause many long term health issues, but taking care of one’s body can help prevent the long term complications of diabetes mellitus.