Easy Read Information
Diabetes can cause problems in other parts of the body. These are called complications.
This page is about our treatment for some of these complications.
Diabetes can cause short term and long term complications. Short term complications include hypoglycaemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, and hyperglycaemic hyperosmolar status. Long term complications include effects on eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves and feet.
advice on dealing with complications
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
This includes heart disease, stroke, and all other diseases of the heart and circulation, such as hardening of the arteries supplying blood to the legs, which is known as peripheral vascular disease (PVD). People with diabetes have an up to five fold increased risk of CVD compared with those without diabetes. There are measures one can take to reduce this risk. Your diabetes team would assess your condition and advise you on how to address your cardiovascular risk.
Diabetes eye disease (Diabetic Retinopathy)
Diabetic retinopathy is damage to the retina (the ‘seeing’ part at the back of the eye) due to diabetes. This is the most common cause of blindness among people of working age in the UK. Annual retinal screening will detect retinopathy early and therefore increases the chances of minimal and most effective treatment. All people with diabetes must now have an eye screening using digital cameras in the community which you can access through your surgery.
Diabetes kidney disease (Diabetic Nephropathy)
Kidney disease can happen to anyone but it is more common in people with diabetes and people with high blood pressure and tends to develop slowly over many years.
Everyone with diabetes should have at least an annual check-up which includes a urine test for protein, blood tests for kidney function and blood pressure. Urine test for small protein particles known as ‘microalbuminuria’ can indicate early stage of kidney disease. Interventions at this stage can be important in slow down the further kidney damage.
High blood sugars are known to harm the nerves’ ability to transmit signals and damage the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the nerves resulting in loss of sensations or symptoms like pins and needles in the feet and arms. Good diabetes control is important in reducing the risk of nerve damage. You should also examine your feet regularly and tell your doctor if you think you may have any sign of neuropathy.
Royal Liverpool University Hospital
0151 706 2829