Managing diabetes: Long-term complications

Updated On Jan 12, 2022

Diabetes can be detrimental to the body in a number of ways. Therefore, it is important to be able to manage and control your diabetes. An alternative solution is prevent it from happening in the first place. Regular screening is important to detect diabetes-related health problems early.

Regular screening can be done at Diabetes Singapore! Find out more about our services here.


Long-term complications from diabetes may include:

Conditions that affect the heart A diabetic could suffer chest pain (angina), a heart attack, a stroke, or atherosclerosis (narrowing of arteries). Diabetes puts diabetics at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Nerve damage (neuropathy) Capillaries (tiny blood vessels) that nourish your nerves can be damaged by too much sugar. Symptoms of this include tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upwards. This also causes lack of arousal, excessive sweating and diagnosis of delayed stomach emptying.
Kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy) or kidney failure Each kidney contains millions of tiny blood vessel clusters (glomeruli) that filter waste from your blood. This delicate filtering system can be damaged by diabetes. Damage to the kidneys can lead to kidney failure or irreversible kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Diabetes can damage the blood vessels of the retina (diabetic retinopathy), potentially resulting in blindness Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts (clouding of your normal clear lens) and glaucoma, as well as other serious vision conditions.
Damage to the foot Various foot complications can be exacerbated by damaged nerves or bad blood flow. Unless treated, cuts and blisters can become infected and heal poorly. Eventually, toes, feet, or legs may have to be amputated from the infections/ Symptoms of damaged nerves or poor blood flow in the feet that lead to serious skin infections, ulcerations, and in some cases, amputation. The condition can increase your risk of getting skin infections like fungal and bacterial ones. 
Impairment of hearing Diabetics are more likely to experience hearing loss.
Alzheimer’s disease Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia has been shown to be associated with type-2 diabetes.
Depression Diabetes patients of both types 1 and 2 commonly experience depression symptoms. The management of diabetes can also be negatively affected by depression.

Other complications may include

  • Bone and joint problems
  • Teeth and gum infections