Diabetes has been adjudged to be the 7th leading cause of death in the world. It is a chronic disease which is caused due to the insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas which results in the increased levels of glucose in the blood. Diabetes can be of two types: type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a life long disease which is caused since childhood. It requires proper and regular insulin therapy, whereas type 2 diabetes is caused in the adult age and can be kept in check with the help of many treatments. Both the types can cause long term complications of diabetes if not treated in the early stage. These complications are life-threatening and may even cause death.

Long Term Complications Associated with Diabetes

The list of long term complications of this disease is pretty exhaustive. These complications are mainly associated with heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. They develop slowly but can be very dangerous. The only way to avoid these complications is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Following are some of the major complications which may result from prolonged diabetes.

Cardiovascular Problems
Cardiovascular problems may be a result of atherosclerosis which is the narrowing of the arteries due to the buildup of plaque. Plaque is made up of calcium, fat and cholesterol. This can cause blockage in the arteries which may result in heart attacks and strokes. It may also restrict the blood circulation in the lower parts of the bodies.

Neuropathy or Nerve Damage
Excess of sugar may cause damage to the walls of the small capillaries. This may result in numbness and tingling sensation specially in the legs and the tips of the toes. This can be very dangerous if not take care of in time, as poor circulation may cause permanent damage to the body parts. In men, erectile dysfunction can be caused due to the improper supply of blood and nourishment.

Nephropathy or Kidney Damage
This is one of the major complications of diabetes. The major function of the kidneys is to purify blood. They remove all the waste materials from the blood which is excreted in the form of urine. This work is done by glomeruli - structures in kidneys which are very tiny blood vessels. Due to the excess glucose in the blood, these vessels get damaged which may increase the toxin levels. The increased toxin levels may result in nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, fatigue, headache, and swelling of the legs. This may further result in kidney failure.

Eye Damage
Eyes are two of the most sensitive organs of our body. Excess amount of sugar in the blood may damage the tiny and minute blood vessels of the eyes which may result in vision problems. It may result in inflammation of the vessels, abnormal growth, leak fluid, etc. It mainly causes diabetic retinopathy which is also considered to be one of the major cause for blindness. It can also lead to serious complications like cataracts and glaucoma.

Other Complications
Other complications may consists of foot damage which may be caused due to nerve damage. Cuts, blisters, infections and injuries may be very difficult to treat due to the increased levels of sugar. Gum infection, constipation, diarrhea, facial dropping, weakness, speech impairment, decrease in bone density and hearing problems are some of the other long term diabetes mellitus complications.

These were some of the complications of diabetes which can even cause death if not treated in time. The best way to stay away from such complications is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Regularly check your blood sugar levels and consult the doctor if you find it increasing. Maintain a sugar free and healthy diet.