Type 2 diabetes and its related conditions

Type 2 diabetes and its related conditions

Type 2 diabetes can increase your risk for many serious health problems – it can cause other conditions or diseases, known as “complications”. In addition to type 2 diabetes, you might also have other unrelated conditions, called “comorbidities”, that are not actually a consequence or result of your diabetes.

The challenge is that while some of these conditions are more visible and easier for your doctor to track, others may be lurking under the surface.


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Comorbidity

High cholesterol

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High cholesterol

High cholesterol can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke, but there is still a risk even if your LDL (“bad”) cholesterol is normal.

Comorbidity

High blood pressure

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High blood pressure

Added stress from high blood pressure (hypertension) along with diabetes can cause heart, brain, kidney and eye damage.

Comorbidity

Obesity

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Obesity

About 80–90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, increasing the risk for other health complications such as heart attack and stroke.

Complication

Eye damage

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Eye damage

Many people with diabetes have some form of eye damage (diabetic retinopathy) that can lead to vision changes or blindness. You can help lower your risk or worsening of eye damage with blood sugar control, regular eye exams and early treatment.

Increased risk

Stroke

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Stroke

A stroke occurs when blood stops flowing to the brain due to a blockage or from a damaged blood vessel. You can help reduce your risk of stroke by paying careful attention to your risk factors, and maintaining target levels for blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Increased risk

Heart attack

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Heart attack

A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when blood flow to a section of the heart becomes blocked and oxygen can’t get to the muscle. You can help lower your risk of experiencing one by paying careful attention to your risk factors.

Complication

Coronary artery disease (CAD)

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CAD

The most common form of heart disease in diabetes, CAD, is caused by a narrowing or blockage of the arteries supplying blood to the heart and can result in a heart attack or stroke if the blood supply is cut off.

Complication

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

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PAD

People with diabetes have an especially high risk for PAD – a narrowing of the arteries away from the heart that serve the legs, stomach, arms and head – which can increase your risk for CAD, heart attack and stroke.

Complication

Kidney disease

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Kidney disease

A common and chronic condition in people with diabetes (known as nephropathy) where high blood sugar damages the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys over time, causing the kidneys to not work properly or even fail.

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Did you know?
Diabetes puts you at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. People with diabetes may develop heart disease 15 years earlier than those without diabetes, and 1 in 2 people with type 2 diabetes die due to heart disease.
Discover more about diabetes and heart health

Proper management of type 2 diabetes may help prevent or delay the onset of diabetes complications.

Other related conditions to keep in mind

Type 2 diabetes can also impact other aspects of your overall health and wellbeing.

Complication

Anxiety and depression

  • For some people, managing their blood sugar levels every day in order to live a healthy life can be stressful. This stress can lead to a serious fear of hypoglycemia.
1 in 7 people

About 1 in 7 people with diabetes have generalized anxiety disorder

3 in 10

Up to 3 in 10 people with diabetes are affected by depression

Find out more on the link between diabetes and mental health.

Complication

Nerve damage

People with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of amputation and foot ulcers due to nerve damage in the lower limbs. The most common symptoms affect the toes and feet, and include:

  • Throbbing or tingling
  • Burning
  • Sharp pains or a feeling of being pricked with pins
  • Numbness

These are side effects to nerve damage, caused by high blood sugar levels. People who suffer from nerve damage have less feeling in their feet, and often fail to recognize small cuts or blisters which have the potential to become infected.

See the do's and don’ts of foot care

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Talk to your doctor about possible medication options

Feel confident you're getting the most out of your next doctor's appointment by preparing ahead of time. Use this guide as a cheat sheet to help organize your thoughts and questions.

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Type 2 diabetes and your heart

Diabetes can have a major impact on your health, including increasing your risk of developing heart disease. The sooner you understand your risk, the sooner you can do something to reduce it.

See why your heart matters