The latest statistics reveal over 30 million Americans have diabetes with over a million new cases diagnosed each year. Over 7 million of these cases go undiagnosed.

Most people understand diabetes as a “sugar” disease but that’s only part of the story. Diabetes affects many parts of the body. Do you know how diabetes affects the body?

Read on for a better understanding of diabetes and how it affects the body.

The Mechanism for How Diabetes Affects the Body

Insulin is a hormone in your body that moves blood sugar (glucose) into your cells. When you eat, your glucose rises. In response, the body produces insulin which controls glucose.

Once the glucose is inside the cells, the cells store it for energy. If your cells are overloaded with glucose, the glucose stays in the bloodstream. This is insulin resistance.

Rising glucose in the bloodstream is dangerous for the body and has many negative effects. What are the long-term effects of untreated diabetes?

Diabetes and Nerve Damage

Over time, diabetes affects the nervous system. You might notice numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, especially the feet. This is diabetic neuropathy from nerve damage due to excess glucose circulating in the system.

Another potential problem is glossopharyngeal neuralgia (GPN). You can read more about that here.


Nerve damage can also cause excessive sweating and a lack of sexual arousal.

Cardiovascular System

Diabetes is a contributor to high cholesterol and high blood pressure. This increases the chance of a heart attack and cardiovascular disease. Even people as young as 30 suffer from heart disease due to diabetes.

The risk of a stroke also increases due to high blood pressure.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Years of undetected or poorly controlled diabetes leads to diabetic retinopathy. This is the most common eye condition in diabetics. Diabetic retinopathy can cause a partial loss of vision and even blindness.

Glaucoma and cataracts occur at higher rates in people with diabetes. All these conditions are treatable which is why annual physical exams are so important.

Kidney Disease

Diabetes also affects the kidneys. Many people with diabetes end up on dialysis. Diabetic nephropathy is kidney disease stemming from diabetes.

Diabetic nephropathy is also a treatable disease when caught early.

Skin Problems

Diabetes also causes dry skin, bacterial infections, and slow healing of cuts and other wounds.

Take Notice of How Diabetes Affects the Body

Don’t avoid the doctor! Prevention is the best medicine when it comes to diabetes. If you have any of these signs, see a doctor:

• Excessive thirst
• Tingling and burning in feet or hands
• Excessive sweating
• Increased urination
• Blurred vision
• Increased fatigue

Even if you don’t have any symptoms, see your doctor at least once a year for a preventative checkup.

Take Good Care of Your Body

Take good care of yourself so you don’t learn the hard way how diabetes affects the body! Eat as little sugar as possible. Always eat a diet full of vegetables and fruits. Get some exercise daily.

From failing kidneys and heart disease to blindness, diabetes has a negative effect on the body. Most, though not all, people can avoid type-2 diabetes with a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Looking for more good health advice? Keep reading our blog!