side effects with diabetes
Metabolic Health
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What Are The Unexpected Side Effects Of Diabetes

1. High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

Insulin cannot be utilised properly in people with diabetes, a hormone that regulates blood sugar, which leads to the lowering of HDL (good cholesterol). In addition, the insulin that is not utilised well contributes to the narrowing and hardening of the arteries, which increases your blood pressure. As a result, most people with diabetes have unexpected side effects, including hypertension, a high risk of heart disease, and memory and thinking trouble.If you fail to manage your high blood pressure and cholesterol, either with lifestyle interventions, exercises, or medications, the other complications progress rapidly.

2. Brain Health Issues

People with diabetes have abnormalities in blood flow control to the brain. It has been associated with rapid loss of mental functions. As a result, their intellectual performance is compromised, their ability to plan, organise, remember things, prioritise, pay attention, and their normal life is impacted. Managing diabetes means following proper instructions like a healthy diet, lifestyle, medications, and frequent blood sugar monitoring to prevent low blood sugar and stay physically and mentally active—regular exercises for 30 minutes.  

3. Gum Disease

People with diabetes suffer from gum difficulties, likely developing periodontal disease. The gum and bones are infected, leading to painful chewing, and you can also lose a tooth. It happens due to high blood sugar levels, which modify the collagen in all the tissues. People with higher levels of periodontal disease are prone to diabetes in the future compared to people without gum issues. Diabetes not only makes the gums worse, but there are inflammations and deep abscesses of the gums. To prevent periodontitis, you have to brush twice a day, floss daily and use an antiseptic mouthwash to clean out any lingering plaque.

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4. Sexual Problems

Erectile dysfunctions are very common in men with diabetes in the long run. Changes in blood vessels and nerve supply to the penis could cause. If you have diabetes, are over age 40, and have high chances of erectile dysfunction. Women with diabetes also tend to have sexual difficulties like lubrication issues and a lack of ability to achieve orgasm. 

5. Hearing Loss

We tend to lose hearing as we age, but it is very common in people with diabetes compared with the general population. Even in prediabetic people, hearing loss is higher than average. This is because high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the inner ear the same way it damages blood vessels in the eyes and kidneys. In addition, older women suffer from hearing loss compared to non-diabetic women of the same age. 

6. Skin Infections

For people who have diabetes, the most common symptoms they observe are skin infections. Suppose diabetes increases your risk of skin issues, including skin dryness, itching, bacterial infections such as boils and urinary tract infections, fungal infections. Yeast infections are predominantly high in people with diabetes. In some cases, skin infections can be associated with obesity because there is too much moisture in the skin folds. The chances of growth of bacterial and fungal-like candida Albicans are high. If you have low immunity, the chances of skin infections are higher. Controlling blood sugar levels helps with prevention, or getting over-the-counter medicines like antibiotics, antifungal ointments, and using moisturisers can prevent skin dryness and itchiness. Know more about medications for diabetes.

7. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Another sleep disorder occurs when your throat muscles relax and block the airway during your sleep. It happens with around 50% of the people who have diabetes, especially obese people. Sadly, some diseases like sleep apnea and gum disease can get worse even if your diabetes is under control. People having OSA have a high chance of having diabetes in the future. To treat sleep apnea disorder, keep your airway open at night, use a device, or wear a mouthpiece to help you push your jaw forward. In severe cases, surgery is needed by modifying the structure of the nose, mouth, or throat.

8. Vision Problems

1 in 3 people with diabetes above 40 years old has retinopathy. High blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels of the eyes. The process of damage starts quite before its diagnosis. There are no early symptoms, but the more you delay, the higher the chances of darkness. As the blood glucose levels increase, the risk of eye issues increases. More than 80 percent of people with diabetes will develop retinopathy in the future.

9. Kidney Disease

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure. Over time, high blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessels and the nephrons, losing their property to filter the waste. Few symptoms you can observe in people with diabetes and kidney disease as

  • Frothy urine
  • Dark or bloody urine
  • Pain in the kidneys in the lower back
  • Urinary tract infections

People with diabetes will suffer from kidney damage within 10 years of the onset of the disease. However, if it is not controlled, few will progress to kidney failure, where the patient will require either dialysis or a kidney transplant. Also read about sugar level in urine

10. Neuropathy

Untreated diabetes can also cause nerve disorders. The most common type of nerve damage is neuropathy, leading to decreased sensations, numbness, or tingling in your hand or feet. But eventually, neuropathy can cause pain, weakness, and worsening of nerves that help regulate digestion, control blood pressure, erectile function, the bladder, and high chances of other damage. 


Early symptoms of diabetes could be difficult to notice. However, if you have any of the above symptoms or side effects of diabetes, whether you have diabetes or not, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible. But the bottom line is to keep your blood glucose levels in control, eat right, exercise, reduce weight, control your blood pressure and monitor cholesterol to slow down the diabetes-related complications.




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.