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Managing Complications

Managing Complications

Heart disease

Persons living with diabetes [PLWD] are 2 to 3 times more prone to heart attacks and strokes. High BGL, high blood pressure and high cholesterol level together impair circulation to the heart and the brain.

Angina: Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest on exertion, relieved by rest

Heart attack

  • Longer lasting central chest pain (more than 30mins)
  • Often radiating down the left arm
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating, nausea, light-headedness

Symptoms may be mild or absent in persons with diabetes due to nerve damage where you can have a silent heart attack.


A stroke usually happens when blood supply to part of the brain is compromised. Any part of the brain can be affected and it can cause unilateral symptoms such as partial or complete paralysis. It’s important to know that if you have diabetes, your risk of a stroke is 2 – 4 times higher than that of a person who does not have diabetes.

Eye complications in diabetes

Diabetes eye diseases or retinopathy occurs as a result of chronic high BGL causing damage to the retinal blood vessels, leading to leaks and blockages that may result in loss of vision and eventual blindness. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of vision loss in adults. Cataracts and glaucoma are also very common in PLWD

Kidney disease in diabetes [Nephropathy]

PLWD are prone to end stage kidney disease which causes kidney failure. Small blood vessels of the kidney lead to impairment of filtration and increased leakage of proteins which leads to chronic renal impairment. Chronic kidney disease in PLWD may be also due to hypertension.

Nerve damage in diabetes [Neuropathy]

High BGL can cause damage to the nerves throughout the body. Neuropathy is a common complication of diabetes which affects peripheral nerves which leads to lack of sensation in legs and limbs. This leads to injury, ulceration, infections resulting in amputations.

Oral Health

If you are diagnosed with diabetes and BGLs are not managed well, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease and loose more teeth than someone without diabetes. Like most infections, serious gum disease may be a factor in causing blood sugar to rise and make diabetes harder to control.


PLWD are three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression. It is wise to seek help from a health care professional.

Skin Complications

Diabetes can affect any part of your body including your skin. Both fungal and bacteria may lead to itching and infections.