effects of diabetes
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Diabetes Effects On The Body

The first thing that springs to mind when you hear "diabetes" is undoubtedly high blood sugar levels. Blood sugar is an often-overlooked aspect of your overall health. It can lead to diabetes if the sugar gets out of balance in bodily functions. Diabetes is harmful to the human body. There are some significant signs and symptoms that you may experience if you get diabetes.

After a person eats or drinks, their body will start breaking down sugars from their meals and use them for power in their cells. To do this, the pancreas must produce the hormone insulin. Insulin assists in drawing sugar from the circulation and storing it as a source of energy in the cells.

The pancreas secretes very little insulin if you have diabetes. It will result in insulin not being able to do its job correctly. Consequently, blood glucose levels rise, but the rest of your cells lack vital energy. It can result in a wide range of side effects of diabetes that impact practically every central bodily system and continue reading to know how diabetes affects the body.

Effects of Diabetes
Effects of Diabetes

What is HHS in Diabetes?

HHS in diabetes refers to Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic State. It generally occurs in people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes experiencing significantly high blood sugar levels. High glucose levels mean levels higher than 40 mmoI/I. This condition can develop over time due to a combination of infections or other illnesses and dehydration. HHS can be fatal and even lead to death if timely treatment is not taken.

If you are experiencing dry skin, frequent urination, nausea, disorientation, and excessive thirst, you can get checked for HHS. While dehydration, confusion, and loss of consciousness are some common symptoms of HHS, the condition is not generally diagnosed until the person falls severely ill because of HHS. Stopping diabetes medication midway during any illness can contribute to HHS, but at times blood sugar levels rise exceptionally high even after taking medicines because of hormonal effects. Know about gestational diabetes treatment.

Endocrine, Excretory, And Digestive Systems

If the pancreas secretes little or no insulin, or if the body can't use it, other hormones turn fat into energy. High quantities of hazardous substances, such as acids and ketone bodies, might lead to ketoacidosis. The side effects of diabetes ketoacidosis are significant diabetes conditions. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • Extreme thirst, frequent urination, and exhaustion
  • The increased amounts of ketones in the blood may generate an unpleasant odor on your breath 
  • You can confirm diabetes ketoacidosis by high blood sugar levels and an excess of ketones in the urine. This disorder, if left untreated, can result in loss of consciousness or possibly death
  • HHS (hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome) is a significant intricacy of type 2 diabetes. It entails a lot of work. With this condition, you may get dehydrated and even pass out. HHS is more frequent among those who haven't been diagnosed with diabetes or haven't been able to control it adequately. A stroke, heart attack, or infection can also cause it.

Kidney Damage

Kidney disease caused by diabetes can injure your kidneys and reduce their ability to filter toxins from your blood. If your doctor discovers microalbuminuria or an excessive protein level in the urine, this might indicate that your kidneys aren't functioning correctly.

Diabetes nephropathy is a chronic kidney condition occurring in people with diabetes. The illness does not manifest symptoms until it is advanced. If you have diabetes, your doctor will check for nephropathy to avoid irreparable kidney damage or failure.

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Circulatory System

Diabetes makes you more likely to develop high blood pressure, putting your heart under tremendous strain. As a result of the side effects of diabetes, high blood glucose levels can cause fatty deposits to form in the walls of blood vessels. Over time, it can restrict blood flow, raising the possibility of atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries).

According to influential organizations, diabetes is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Blood glucose management, monitoring, good nutrition, and regular exercise can all assist in lowering the risk of high BP and high cholesterol levels.

Integumentary System

The side effects of diabetes can injure your epidermis, which is the body's largest organ. In addition to dehydration, the body's lack of moisture produced by high sugar levels in the blood can cause the skin on the feet to peel and dry.

Ensure the feet are dehydrated after swimming or showering. These areas can be treated with petroleum jelly or mild lotions, but don't get them too wet. Infections of the fungal, bacterial, or yeast kind can occur in moist, warm creases of the skin. These usually manifest themselves in the following areas:

  • Groin 
  • Armpits 
  • Corners of the mouth 
  • Between fingers and toes

Central Nervous System

Diabetes neuropathy, or nerve damage, is a complication of diabetes. It can change how you feel about heat, cold, and discomfort. It's also more likely that you won't recognize these injuries and allow them to progress into significant illnesses or diseases.

You can characterize diabetes retinopathy by enlarged, leaky blood vessels in the eye. It can also harm your vision resulting in blindness. Because the symptoms of eye disease might be subtle at first, it's critical to see your eye doctor frequently. Also read about sugar in urine.

Reproductive System

Gestational diabetes can develop due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, increasing the possibility of high BP. Preeclampsia and eclampsia are two forms of high blood pressure diseases to be aware of during pregnancy.

Diabetes during pregnancy usually is straightforward to manage, and once the child is born, glucose levels begin to recover. The effects of diabetes on the body are comparable to those of other diseases; however, they may also include vaginal and bladder infections.

If you have Gestational Diabetes, you might deliver the baby with higher birth weight. It might make delivery more difficult. You're also at significant risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes after your kid is born.

Effects of Diabetes on Eyes

There are many side effects of diabetes on different body parts, but its impact on the eyes is especially noticeable. Diabetes patients who experience eye damage generally show no symptoms in the initial stages, but particular symptoms can later start showing up. These symptoms demand instant medical attention. Glaucoma, Macular Oedema, Cataracts, and Retinopathy are some common effects of diabetes on the eyes. Most of these side effects affect your vision, so they should not be taken lightly. Read more about diabetes causes.

Effects of Diabetes on Skin

When studying the effects of diabetes on the body, you have to pay special attention to diabetes’ effects on the skin. Diabetes patients can experience very dry skin because of damaged nerves and small blood vessels. You can notice extra dry skin on the feet if you are diabetic. High blood glucose levels tend to affect skin health over a period. Since our skin protects our body from infections, keeping the skin as healthy and nourished as possible is crucial. Visible cracks and potential infections can hamper the body if the skin becomes dry.

Effects of Diabetes on Pregnancy

If you are wondering how diabetes affects the body, especially during pregnancy, this point will answer your question. During pregnancy, some hormones change the way they function, causing gestational diabetes. It often leads to an increased risk of high blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed recently with gestational diabetes, you should look for eclampsia and preeclampsia, two types of high blood pressure conditions.

Gestational diabetes is easily managed in most cases, and blood sugar levels return to normal levels after delivery, but there can be exceptions. Women with gestational diabetes have higher chances of giving birth to a baby with a higher-than-normal body weight, which can bring complications in the delivery process. Patients also become prone to developing Type 2 diabetes years after delivering the baby.

Effects of Diabetes on Feet and Legs

The effects of diabetes can be felt in feet and legs because high blood glucose levels can easily damage the blood supply in large and small blood vessels. These blood vessels carry the required nutrition to the feet and legs, so any damage to these vessels directly affects the feet and legs. Problems related to the foot’s structure, like clawed toes, can also occur. Due to the reduced blood supply and affected nerve function, your body can experience delayed healing, reduced feeling or sensations in the feet, ulcers, structural foot problems, increased risk of infections, and more. Also read about watermelon for diabetes.

Effects of Diabetes on Kidney

If you were wondering what are the effects of diabetes on kidneys, this point would answer your question. Diabetes patients are at an increased risk of developing nephropathy; a kidney disease caused due to changes in kidney’s small blood vessels. You will not experience any pain from kidney disease in its nascent stage, but problems can emerge as it advances. Timely screening of kidney damage can help prevent this condition. If symptoms are picked early, nephropathy can be slowed or prevented.  Also read about how to prevent diabetes.

Effects of Diabetes on Periodontium

People diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and severely high blood sugar levels are more prone to developing periodontal disease. Uncontrolled high blood glucose levels in mouth fluids promote bacteria growth that can give rise to various gum diseases. It even increases the severity and prevalence of gingival inflammation and periodontal destruction. Since infections arising from untreated periodontal disease can make it challenging to control diabetes, it is suggested to receive timely treatment from the doctor.

Effects of Diabetes on the Brain

Diabetes effects on the brain cannot be avoided since even the slightest damage to the brain can disrupt your body functions to a great extent. Excessively high blood glucose levels can damage nerves and blood vessels in your brain. It leads to severe learning and memory problems. Hormonal changes, mood shifts, and Alzheimer’s are some problems diabetes patients can experience over a period.

Effects of Diabetes on Liver

Having uncontrollable high blood glucose levels can make you prone to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In this condition, your liver can start accumulating fat even if you don’t drink alcohol. Many people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. If you are obese and have Type 2 diabetes, you can reverse this liver damage with weight loss.

Long-Term Effects of Diabetes

If you were wondering what body systems does diabetes affect, the answer is almost all body systems. Let’s learn more about the long-term effects diabetes has on people by checking the list shared below.

  • Nerves in the body can get damaged, leading to intense pain, burning, tingling sensation, and even loss of feeling.
  • Feet and skin can develop sores, which can become a severe cause of concern if timely treatment is not taken. In rare and extreme cases, it may lead to amputation of your toe, foot, leg, etc.
  • Your immune system can be weakened, making you prone to various health complications.
  • The risk of developing bone diseases like osteoporosis can significantly increase.
  • Advanced diabetes can increase the risk of dementia.
  • Eye problems can become a possibility, and you can have trouble seeing, especially at night.
  • Digestion problems are common among people with diabetes. You can experience irregular bowel movements or loose watery bowel movements during diabetes.
  • People with diabetes may have depression since the two are linked.
  • High blood glucose levels can lead to kidney damage. In extreme cases, patients may need dialysis or a kidney transplant as the kidney might stop working.

These are some long-term effects diabetes patients have experienced in the long term. If you want to avoid experiencing these extreme side effects, work closely with your doctor and abide by the suggestions.

Short-Term Effects of Diabetes

  • Increased thirst and urination: When your blood sugar is high, your kidneys have to work harder to filter out the excess sugar. This can lead to increased urination, which can in turn cause dehydration and increased thirst.
  • Fatigue: High blood sugar can also make you feel tired and sluggish, as your cells aren't getting the energy they need.
  • Blurred vision: Changes in blood sugar levels can affect the shape of your eye's lens, leading to blurred vision.
  • Slow healing: High blood sugar can impair your body's ability to heal wounds, which can lead to slow healing and an increased risk of infections.
  • Numbness or tingling: High blood sugar can damage nerves throughout your body, causing numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation, particularly in your hands and feet.


Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar and high insulin levels start affecting your body years before being diagnosed with diabetes. It will injure your nerves, arteries, and organs if you do nothing about it. And the longer it is ignored, the greater the difficulties get. As a result, you run the risk of developing heart failure, having a heart attack, or having a stroke. You may lose your vision due to the effects of diabetes on the body. It may harm your kidneys, nerves, and other essential organs. However, you can protect yourself. You can quickly manage blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure with a healthy diet, exercise, medication, and frequent exams. Even if you feel fine, sticking to your treatment plan might help you avoid significant injury.


What are the effects of type 2 diabetes on the body?

Type 2 diabetes affects some of the major organs of your body including the heart and kidney. If the condition is not under control then you might face complications like heart and blood vessel damage leading to strokes and attacks, neuropathy which generally starts from the toes and causes numbness as the nerve is damaged, Kidney and eye damage, skin conditions, etc. A person with type 2 diabetes may also experience hyperglycemic hyperosmolar syndrome in which the patient becomes extremely dehydrated and may even pass out. Also know about reversing type 2 diabetes.

What body parts can diabetes affect?

Some of the prominent body parts are affected by diabetes as the entire circulation gets disrupted due to fluctuating sugar levels that cause small blood vessels in your kidneys, eyes, nerves, etc., to get damaged. One may face diabetic foot ulcers or infections caused due to injured epidermis. At times, diabetes also affects the reproductive system causing vaginal and bladder infections due to gestational diabetes.

What are the effects of glucose on the body?

Glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrate that acts as fuel for the body. Glucose ensures that our body is in well-working order. When we eat something our body releases enzymes that work along with the pancreas for the breakdown of food. The pancreas that releases insulin is an important hormone that deals with glucose. However, a diabetic patient is unable to produce or utilize glucose which means the effect will be directly on their glucose levels. Having too high or low levels of glucose causes complications in the normal function of the body.

What Body Systems Does Diabetes Affect?

Diabetes can affect your entire circulation system and heart. It includes the small blood vessels in your nerves, eyes, kidneys, etc. The bigger blood vessels feeding your brain and heart are also affected, causing significant damage to your body. If you want to keep the condition under control, try to maintain healthy blood sugar levels from the start.

How Diabetes Affects the Body?

If your diabetes condition is left uncontrolled, it can damage all body parts. Your kidneys, eyes, feet, heart, and nerves, everything can get impacted, negatively impacting your regular body functioning. Losing vision, structural foot damage, kidney damage, and skin discoloration are some ways in which diabetes may affect your body.

List of Effects of Diabetes

Diabetes patients can experience the following effects:

  • Kidney problems (nephropathy)
  • Eye problems (retinopathy)
  • Gum diseases and other mouth problems
  • Serious structural foot problems
  • Heart attack and stroke
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)


  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317483
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/effects-on-body
  • https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/diabetes-long-term-effects
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/3174


This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.