Type 1 Diabetes: Living With the Disease - Topic Overview
Over time, high blood sugar can damage blood vessels
and nerves throughout your body. This can cause problems with your eyes, heart,
blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. Complications can lead to blindness,
kidney failure, amputation, and death. High blood
sugar also makes you more likely to get serious illnesses or infection. It's
hard to know if you will have complications. Some people are more likely to
have problems than others. The longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk
of complications. You are not likely to have signs of complications until you
have had diabetes for about 5 years.
Watch for early symptoms of
problems. Tingling and numbness in your feet may be a sign of early
nerve damage. Eye problems and kidney damage do not
have early symptoms. Make sure you have regular screening tests for both eye
and kidney problems.
Is it possible to prevent complications?
be able to prevent, or at least delay, problems from diabetes by keeping your
blood sugar level within a target range. Treatment of
high blood pressure and
high cholesterol can also help. Not smoking can also
lower your risk of complications.
See your doctor every 3 to 6
months. During these visits, your doctor will review your treatment and do
tests and exams to see if your blood sugar is staying within your target range
and if you have developed any complications.
Some exams and tests
need to be done at every visit. Others are done once a year, such as eye exams
and tests for protein in your urine. Other tests may be done only if there is a
How will your treatment change over time?
insulin dose, possibly the types of insulin, and the way you give it may change
over time to fit your changing needs. This is especially true for teens because
they are still growing.
The goal of treatment is to always keep
your blood sugar level as close to your target range as you can. To meet this
goal, take care of yourself, get regular checkups, and keep learning about how
to care for yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions