Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage the body’s organs.

However most diabetes-related complications can be prevented.

The most common complications of diabetes:

  • Damage to the big blood vessels (macrovascular/cardiovascular complications) leading to heart attack and stroke.
  • Damage to the small blood vessels (microvascular complications) causing problems in the eyes, kidneys, feet and nerves.
  • Other parts of the body can be affected by diabetes including the digestive system, skin and immune system.
  • Although not considered a complication, people with diabetes may have more thyroid problems than people without diabetes.
  • People with diabetes often have increased cholesterol and blood pressure levels. When these are combined with increased blood glucose levels the risk of cardiovascular disease increases.
  • Smoking, having a family history of cardiovascular disease and being inactive also increase the risk.