Diabetes Complications

There is a direct link between the degree of blood sugar control and the risk of complications.

The complications associated with diabetes have a common origin: too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. If blood glucose (sugar) levels remain high too often over time, it has a damaging effect on many of the body’s organs, primarily:

  • the kidneys (nephropathy)
  • the eyes (retinopathy)
  • the nervous system (neuropathy)
  • the heart (heart attack)
  • the blood vessels (high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, stroke, etc.)

Diabetes is also associated with other complications, such as:

  • sleep apnea
  • capsulitis
  • erectile dysfunction
  • yeast infections
  • urinary tract infections
  • periodontal disease

In addition to poor blood glucose (sugar) control, other factors also contribute to the onset of diabetes complications:

  • age
  • heredity
  • duration of the diabetes
  • lifestyle

The importance of proper glycemic control.

There is a direct link between the degree of blood sugar control and the risk of complications. Two large-scale studies have shown that proper diabetes control reduces complications over the long term:

  • Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT)
  • UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS)

The results of the UKPDS show that improving blood sugar control by reducing A1C by 1.0% reduces the risks of microvascular complications by 37% and death from diabetes complications by 21%.

Text research: Diabetes Québec Team of Health Care Professionals

June 2014