Conditions Commonly Associated with Chronic Diabetes

One of the main chronic diseases in the world is diabetes. Although it can affect the organism since the beginning, it's in the long run that we most often see the real damages of diabetes in the body. Among the many complications, there are four that more commonly happen: diseases of the eyes, of the heart, of the neurologic system, and of the kidneys.


In regarding the eyes, the most common affection is called diabetic retinopathy, a disease that affects the retina - the sensitive part of the eye that's responsible for “understanding light” and telling the brain about the colors and forms of the world we are seeing.

Diabetic retinopathy progressively changes the retina and the information it sends the brain, culminating in severely decreased vision or even total blindness - mainly on the older population.

Heart and Vascular Problems

Heart and vascular problems are very common within diabetic patients. The chronically increased glucose on the body, associated with the poor control of fat by the body - due to the low levels of insulin - in diabetes dramatically increases the total cardiac risk of the patient. There are statistics showing an increase of 2 to 4 times the incidence of stroke or heart infarction in the diabetic patient. The same uncontrolled factors lead to another very common affection - atheromatosis, which is, generally speaking, accumulation of fat byproducts on the inside of the vessels of the body. This highly increases the risk of arterial clotting that can cause obstruction of the blood flow to the member or organ affected.

Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System

In the nervous system there are also two conditions commonly associated with chronic diabetes: stroke (central nervous system) and diabetic neuropathy (peripheral nervous system).

Alterations in the inner part of the brain vessels, like the carotid and cerebral arteries, increase the likelihood of clotting inside of them. This, in turn, leads to an increased incidence of stroke in diabetic patients.

The chronically elevated levels of blood glucose commonly seen in diabetic patients also lead to nerve damage, in a syndrome that’s known as diabetic neuropathy.

There are metabolic changes inside the nerves, and in the immediate surroundings of the nerves, that are also often associated with chronic diabetes – which results in changes in the sensitive portion of the medullary nerves, thus decreasing feeling and perception of position and pain in the affected portion of the limb. This is associated with higher risk of infection of the affected areas.

Kydney Damage

And lastly, the metabolic changes caused due to diabetes culminate in an increased risk of kidney damage. Since the kidneys are an essential part of the body systems associated with eliminating dangerous substances produced by the body or consumed by the person via food or drink ingestion, the impaired kidney function can – in the most severe cases – lead to renal substitution therapy, of which the most commonly known is hemodialysis.

There are many more conditions that can affect and damage the body that are associated with diabetes. Nevertheless, the most commonly associated conditions are described here – a clarification to diabetic patients, which can dramatically decrease the chances of anyone of these conditions happen if good blood glucose control is achieved and sustained through a good treatment of diabetes.


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