Doctors do not understand what causes some people
to develop diabetes complications while others do not. Some people may have
tissue and unidentified factors that are resistant to damage. Lifestyle and
inherited factors may also affect the risk for complications. For
example, if you smoke, you are at higher risk for heart and blood
vessel disease than someone who does not smoke.
People with diabetes are at risk for
heart attack and other heart problems.
If you have
diabetic neuropathy, especially if it affects the
internal organs (autonomic neuropathy), you may not have heart-related symptoms
or may have symptoms that are not typical of heart problems. As a result, you
may not seek medical help early enough to prevent serious problems or even
death. Be sure to seek care very early, even if your symptoms are not serious
and even if you think your symptoms are not related to your heart.
People who have diabetes are more
likely to have a stroke than people who do not have diabetes. Plaque buildup and clot formation cause blockage in
the blood vessels leading to the brain. People with diabetes often have high
blood pressure, which can cause abnormalities in the small blood vessels of the
brain and lead to stroke.
Peripheral arterial disease
People with diabetes are
at risk for narrowing of the large vessels of their legs. The resulting poor
circulation impairs healing and means that even a minor injury or infection can
develop into a serious infection. If you have
peripheral diabetic neuropathy, you are at increased
risk for injury to your feet and legs. A serious foot infection may travel up
your leg, infect the bones, and may lead to an amputation.
Macrovascular complications and their symptoms
Chest pain or a feeling of squeezing/pressure. If you have autonomic
diabetic neuropathy, you may not have chest pain.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.