What are some of the long-term complications of high blood sugar levels?

  • Retinopathy (eye disease): All patients with diabetes should see an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) every year for a dilated eye examination. Patients with known eye disease or symptoms of blurred vision in one eye or who have blind spots may need to see their ophthalmologist more often.
  • Nephropathy (kidney disease): Urine testing should be performed every year. Regular blood pressure checks are also important because management of high blood pressure is essential in slowing kidney disease. Have your blood pressure checked at every visit with your healthcare provider. The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping blood pressure below 140/90 for most adults. Persistent swelling in the leg or feet also may be a symptom of kidney disease and should be reported to your doctor.
  • Neuropathy (nerve disease): Numbness or tingling in your feet should be reported to your doctor at your regular visits. Check your feet every day for redness, calluses, cracks or breakdown in the skin tissue. If you notice these symptoms before your scheduled visits, notify your doctor immediately.

Other long-term complications may include:

  • Other eye problems, including glaucoma and cataracts
  • Dental problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attacks and strokes
  • Sexual health problems

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