Many people with Type 1 diabetes wonder how it will affect their lives, both immediately and in the future.
The potential long-term complications may occur after having diabetes for some time, especially when blood glucose levels have been consistently too high (hyperglycaemia). This can affect areas of the body such as the eyes, heart, liver, kidneys, nerves and feet.
Hyperglycaemia can be caused by factors such as:
- Not taking enough insulin to match food intake
- Trying to avoid hypoglycaemia and deliberately keeping glucose levels high
- Inaccurate insulin dosage calculations
- Forgetting to take injections or boluses
- Not performing enough self-monitoring blood glucose tests
To minimise the risk of complications caused by hyperglycaemia, it is important to stay within the target range as much as possible.
Before using the insulin pump, long term complications were a big fear of mine. My HbA1c is now within an acceptable range. When it was in the low range, I had frequent hypos. With the insulin pump, I have kept my HbA1c in a good range without severe hypoglycaemia.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN COMPLICATIONS OF DIABETES?
The chronic complications of diabetes are generally related to the circulatory system. Both small (microvascular) and large (macrovascular) blood vessels can be affected by extended periods of high blood glucose.
Too much glucose in the small blood vessels will damage them over time, causing impaired vision, kidney disease, nerve damage, or problems with the circulation.
Over time, too much glucose in the large blood vessels can lead to coronary artery disease (heart attacks), peripheral vascular disease or strokes.