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Diabetes Type 1 and 2 - what's the difference?

Diabetes Type 1 and 2 - whats the difference?

Coping with your diagnosis

Coping with your
diagnosis

What is Diabetes?

What is diabetes?

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Keeping diabetes at bay

Having diabetes can make you more likely to develop other health problems in the future which are called “complications”. So what are the complications?

  1. Eyes (retinopathy)

    Over time high blood glucose levels can damage the tiny blood vessels which supply the seeing part of the eye (called the retina).The blood vessels become blocked, leaky or grow haphazardly. This can affect your vision and in the worst case can cause blindness. Retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in the working age population.

  2. Stroke

    High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can cause the lining of the blood vessels to “fur up”, narrow and even block. If a blood vessel supplying your brain gets blocked, that will cause a stroke. People with Type 2 diabetes have a two-fold increased risk of stroke within the first five years of diagnosis compared with the general population.

  3. Heart disease

    High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can cause the lining of the blood vessels to “fur up”, narrow and even block. If a blood vessel supplying your heart gets narrowed, that will cause angina. If it becomes completely blocked it will cause a heart attack. Heart and blood vessel disease accounts for 44 per cent of deaths in people with Type 1 diabetes and 52 per cent in people with Type 2.

  4. Kidney disease

    High blood glucose can damage the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys which filter your blood. This makes them less efficient and causes waste products to build up in your blood. Diabetes is the single most common cause of kidney failure.

  5. Nerve damage

    High blood glucose causes chemical changes in nerves that can make it difficult for them to transmit signals. High blood glucose levels can also harm the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to your nerves. Nerve damage most commonly affects your feet and legs and in the worst case can cause amputation. 100 people a week lose a toe, foot or lower limb due to diabetes.

  6. The good news

    The better you look after your diabetes the less chance you have of developing these complications. And from age 12, your healthcare team will do a full “annual review” (a bit like an MOT) to check for any complications. If they find any problems, they can get you the right treatment early. For example with eye damage in 90% of cases blindness can be prevented if retinopathy is caught early, so everyone with diabetes over the age of 12 usually has their eyes screened with a digital retinal camera every year.

SHS076 Date of preparation May 2013

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