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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.

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.

Microvascular
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.

Macrovascular
Over time, too much glucose in the large blood vessels can lead to coronary artery disease (heart attacks), peripheral vascular disease or strokes.