Risks of diabetes
If your blood sugar level remains high for many years and is not normalised, a number of dangerous complications can arise:
Eye disease (retinopathy)
A circulatory disturbance of the retina can be detected in up to 95% of Type 1 diabetics and 80% of Type 2 diabetics who have suffered from diabetes for 15 to 20 years. This leads to a loss of visual acuity. The risk of going blind is 5.2 times higher for individuals with diabetes than for those without diabetes.
Kidney disease (nephropathy)
20 to 30% of all the people with diabetes develop a kidney disease. The danger of kidney insufficiency (functional deficiency of the kidney) is around 12.7 times higher for diabetic men than for people without diabetes.
A person without diabetes with high blood pressure has approximately four times the increased risk of cardiovascular disease compared to individuals without diabetes without high blood pressure. The risk of a heart attack increases 3.7 times in diabetic men and 5.9 times in women. If the diagnosis is made after the patient is 30 years old, then the risk of a cardiovascular death is 2.3 times higher than for a person without diabetes. When diabetes is diagnosed in patients who are less than 30 years old, the risk of a fatal cardiovascular event is 9.1 times higher.
Nerve disease (neuropathy)
Approximately 30% of people with diabetes suffer from nerve damage. This involves both the nerves involved in muscle movement and sensation and those of the internal organs. 10 to 15% of people with diabetes suffer pronounced pain to a greater or lesser degree.
The risk of a stroke is around 2 to 4 times higher for diabetics than for people without diabetes.
The incidence of ulcers for diabetics under 50 years old is 1.7 to 3.3%, and 5 to 10% for those over 50 years old. On average amputations have to be performed in 3 cases per 1000 diabetics.
Periodontitis is a condition in which the gums recede and the teeth and jawbones become loose. This disease occurs on average three times more frequently in people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes than in people without diabetes.
The first warning signs of an impaired carbohydrate metabolism such as unusual thirst, increased urination, fatigue and weight loss should not be ignored. The problem is that Type 2 diabetes in particular can exist for years without any noticeable symptoms. In Germany alone there are about 4 million undiagnosed persons with diabetes. It is therefore essential to check your weight regularly, engage in physical exercise and have your blood glucose checked by your physician to ensure that diabetes is diagnosed at an early stage and treated appropriately.