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Long-term complications of diabetes

Diabetic complications - long term


Diabetic foot care
Diabetic retinopathy
Diabetic nephropathy

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Diabetes makes your blood sugar higher than normal. After many years, too much sugar in the blood can cause problems in your body. It can harm your eyes, kidneys, nerves, skin, heart, and blood vessels.

Take Control of Your Diabetes

Keeping your blood sugar in a healthy range reduces all of the complications from diabetes.

It is important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in a healthy range.

You should learn these basic steps for managing diabetes and staying as healthy as possible. Steps may include:

You may need to check your blood sugar daily or more often. Your health care provider will also help you by ordering blood tests and other tests. All these may help you keep complications of diabetes away.

You will need to check your blood sugar level at home.

To prevent heart disease and stroke, you may be asked to take medicine and change your diet and activity:

To keep your feet healthy, you should:

A nurse or dietitian will teach you about good food choices to lower your blood sugar and stay healthy. Make sure you know how to put together a balanced meal with protein and fiber.

See Your Doctor Often

If you have diabetes, you should see your providers every 3 months. At these visits your provider may:

The provider may also send you to the lab for blood and urine tests to:

Visit the dentist every 6 months. You should see your eye doctor once a year. Your provider may ask you to see your eye doctor more often.


American Diabetes Association. 5. Facilitating behavior change and well-being to improve health outcomes: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes-2020. Diabetes Care. 2020;43(Suppl 1):S48-S65. PMID: 31862748

Brownlee M, Aiello LP, Sun JK, et al. Complications of diabetes mellitus. In: Melmed S, Auchus, RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 37.


Review Date: 8/29/2020  

Reviewed By: Brent Wisse, MD, board certified in Metabolism/Endocrinology, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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