Complications of Diabetes

Diabetes Complications 

  • It is a chronic, incurable, costly disease that is largely preventable through lifestyle changes. Diabetes is responsible for millions of deaths annually and incalculable human misery from debilitating complications, especially cardiovascular disease (CVD) as shown in Table 003 .1-3
  • Diabetes kills and disables, impoverishes families, imposes a huge economic burden on governments and businesses, and overwhelms the health system. It affects rich and poor, young and old alike.
  • Diabetes is among the top 10 causes of disability worldwide. Tens of millions of people with diabetes suffer disabling and life-threatening complications such as heart disease, stroke, lower limb amputations, blindness and visual impairment, and kidney failure. In many countries, diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure and lower limb amputation. 1
  • WHO estimates that 15 million people are blind as a result of diabetes, the majority of them are in low- and middle-income countries. 
  • Approximately half of all diabetes in India is undiagnosed compared to one-third in the US.4, 5 6 Complications continue to mount in people with undiagnosed diabetes at a faster rate than those with diagnosed and treated diabetes. 


1. 2010 November. Accessed January 15,2011.

2. Krishnaveni GV, Veena SR, Hill JC, Kehoe S, Karat SC, Fall CH. Intrauterine exposure to maternal diabetes is associated with higher adiposity and insulin resistance and clustering of cardiovascular risk markers in Indian children. Diabetes Care. Feb 2010;33(2):402-404.

3. Bloomgarden ZT. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26(1):230-237.

4. Mohan V, Sandeep S, Deepa R, Shah B, Varghese C. Epidemiology of type 2 diabetes: Indian scenario. Indian J Med Res. Mar 2007;125(3):217-230.

5. Ramachandran A, Sathyamurthy I, Snehalatha C, et al. Risk variables for coronary artery disease in Asian Indians. Am J Cardiol. 2001;87(3):267-271.

6. Ajay VS, Prabhakaran D, Jeemon P, et al. Prevalence and determinants of diabetes mellitus in the Indian industrial population. Diabet Med. Oct 2008;25(10):1187-1194.

7. Barnett AH, Dixon AN, Bellary S, et al. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk in the UK south Asian community. Diabetologia. Oct 2006;49(10):2234-2246.

8. Swerdlow AJ, Laing SP, Dos Santos Silva I, et al. Mortality of South Asian patients with insulin-treated diabetes mellitus in the United Kingdom: a cohort study. Diabet Med. Aug 2004;21(8):845-851.

9. Bellary S, O’Hare JP, Raymond NT, et al. Premature cardiovascular events and mortality in south Asians with type 2 diabetes in the United Kingdom Asian Diabetes Study – effect of ethnicity on risk. Current medical research and opinion. Aug 2010;26(8):1873-1879.

10. Fischbacher CM, Bhopal R, Rutter MK, et al. Microalbuminuria is more frequent in South Asian than in European origin populations: a comparative study in Newcastle, UK. Diabet Med. 2003;20(1):31-36.

11. UKPDS 12. UK Prospective Diabetes Study. XII: Differences between Asian, Afro- Caribbean and white Caucasian type 2 diabetic patients at diagnosis of diabetes. UK Prospective Diabetes Study Group. Diabet Med. 1994;11(7):670-677.

12. Mather HM, Keen H. The Southall Diabetes Survey: prevalence of known diabetes in Asians and Europeans. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1985;291(6502):1081-1084.

13. Raymond NT, Varadhan L, Reynold DR, et al. Higher prevalence of retinopathy in diabetic patients of South Asian ethnicity compared with white Europeans in the community: a cross-sectional study. Diabetes Care. Mar 2009;32(3):410-415.

14. Mather HM, Chaturvedi N, Fuller JH. Mortality and morbidity from diabetes in South Asians and Europeans: 11- year follow-up of the Southall Diabetes Survey, London, UK. Diabet Med. 1998;15(1):53-59.

15. Forouhi NG, Sattar N, Tillin T, McKeigue PM, Chaturvedi N. Do known risk factors explain the higher coronary heart disease mortality in South Asian compared with European men? Prospective follow-up of the Southall and Brent studies, UK. Diabetologia. Nov 2006;49(11):2580-2588.

16. Karter AJ, Ferrara A, Liu JY, Moffet HH, Ackerson LM, Selby JV. Ethnic disparities in diabetic complications in an insured population. Jama. 2002;287(19):2519-2527.

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