How to Prevent Complications of Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic condition that may lead to various complications as a result of the various processes that occur in diabetes. Complications of diabetes tend to be less severe and less common in patients who have controlled blood sugar levels. Complications also increase when diabetes occurs with other conditions such as elevated cholesterol, smoking, hypertension, obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Complications of diabetes include:

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a condition that results from prolonged hyperglycemia states wherein the body is not able to use the glucose in the blood for energy production. In turn, the liver utilizes the fats or ketones in the body to be used as fuel. Utilizing fats for energy production is normal in some instances, but the prolonged and sustained use as a result of low insulin levels to transport the glucose to the cells may lead to increased in the ketone bodies in the blood. As a result, the patient suffering from this condition may have reduced pH of the blood signifying acidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a medical emergency because it may progress to coma and my lead to shock and death. Diabetic ketoacidosis is more common in diabetes type 1 than in diabetes type 2 because of complete lack of insulin production.

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Hyperglycemia Hyperosmolar State

This condition is similar to DKA in terms of symptoms, but involves a different mechanism. This results from an increased blood glucose levels, which causes the water to shift from the intracellular pace into the intravascular space or in the blood. IN turn, there is increased filtration in the kidneys and the kidneys begin to dump glucose in the urine. Due to this, there is water loss in the cells and may increase the osmolarity of the blood. When the fluid is not replaced, it leads to severe dehydration of the cells. There may also be electrolyte imbalances that may lead to further problems. Hyperglycemia hyperosmolar state may eventually lead to coma when the brain cells are severely affected.


Hypoglycemia is a common complication when the patient begins insulin therapy or medications. This is due to the increased transport of glucose to the cells by the use of insulin. In this regard, patients taking insulin should watch out for hypoglycemia with regular monitoring of the blood glucose levels.

Macrovascular effects

Macrovascular effects are due to damage to the large arteries as a result of increased rate of atherosclerosis resulting from high blood glucose levels. These are chronic complications and develop over years of hyperglycemia states. Macrovascular complications include coronary artery disease, peripheral vascular disease, diabetic muscle wasting ad stoke.

Microvascular effects

Microvascular effects are a result of damages to the smaller blood vessels. This includes nephropathy or damage to the kidneys, neuropathy or damage to the nerves, retinopathy or damage to the small capillaries in the eyes and cardiomyopathy or affectation of the small blood vessels in the heart.

Other complications may include infections, diabetic foot, gangrene, and leg amputations. As discussed earlier, these complications are more evident in patients who have uncontrolled blood sugar levels. These complications are highly preventable when patients perform necessary precautions such as:

  • Regular blood sugar and blood pressure monitoring.
  • Taking insulin and anti diabetic drugs religiously and consulting to physician regarding dose adjustments.
  • Having an adequate exercise every day of at least 30 minutes for at least 5 times a day.
  • Practicing proper diet.
  • Taking snacks before any exercise or strenuous activities.
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol intake.
  • Drinking prescribed amounts of fluids of at least 1 liter per day to prevent dehydration.
  • Avoiding high cholesterol, high sodium and fatty foods.
  • Using appropriate foot wear and practicing proper foot care.

When these measures are employed, complications may be lessened if not prevented.

Dr. Alapati Amarendra is freelance health writer cum blogger. He currently writes for, an online facilitator for Viagra, Cialis and Levitra online.

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