7 Complications of Unchecked Diabetes In 2017, diabetes was ranked by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention as the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, making up for around 80,000 deaths over the span of a year—and that’s not even counting those whose diabetes may have contributed to their death. Many people don’t even know they’re suffering with the condition, and the complications that can result from not knowing, or even mismanagement, can be dire. If caught and treated soon enough, many—if not most—of these complications can be prevented. Here are just a few:

Atrophied Limbs

Excess sugar in the blood capillaries can cause irreversible nerve damage, putting stress on the arms and legs. This may result in tingling, numbness, burning and pain. Unchecked, this can lead to complete loss of feeling in the extremities, and in some cases, amputation.

Digestive Problems

Nerve damage is an especially large threat for the digestive systems of those suffering with diabetes. Once the body’s biome is compromised, this can cause an influx of gastrointestinal issues like nausea, indigestion, diarrhea, vomiting and constipation.

Depression-like Symptoms

High or low blood sugar can cause panic or anxiety, and low blood sugar can greatly affect sleep, creating a sense of exhaustion similar to that of chronic depression. Although having both diabetes and depression is not uncommon, the combination is often misdiagnosed.

7 Complications of Unchecked Diabetes

Blindness

It's possible that diabetes can damage the blood vessels within the retina (also known as diabetic retinopathy), causing not only blurred vision, but in extreme cases, blindness, cataracts or glaucoma.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Those with type II diabetes risk an increased chance of contracting Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies show that the lower the blood sugar, the greater the risk—although a direct link between the two conditions has not yet been discovered.

Skin Infections

Due to their increased levels of glucose, diabetic patients are more likely to contract bacterial and fungal infections. Poor circulation can also localize itching of the skin, in which constant itching can spur the development of rashes.

Heart and Kidney Disease

For those with diabetes, rates of heart disease and kidney disease are much higher than those without it. Compromising the blood vessels in the kidney, your body’s waste system, can cause failure or irreversible kidney disease; it also puts the heart at risk, increasing changes of heart attack, stroke or vessel narrowing.

Get Checked & Spread the Word

If you are over 45 years old, you should consider getting tested for diabetes and if you’re under 45, but overweight and have an additional risk factor, such as family history, sedentary lifestyle and high blood pressure, you should also think about getting tested.