4 Side Effects of Diabetes


Diabetes affects nearly 1 in 10 Americans, or over 29.1 million, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 33 percent of these individuals are not aware they even have diabetes.

Unfortunately, diabetes does not have many symptoms, so it’s easy to overlook. However, if diabetes is not managed, it can cause damage to many areas of the body. Learn four of six unexpected diabetes side effects featured in Prevention magazine.

  1. Brain function decline – Harvard neurologists studied a group of women and men with Type 2 diabetes. They discovered that after two years, the participants showed diminished ability in memory recall and focus, as well as organizing, planning and completing tasks. Research shows that people with diabetes have abnormal blood flow to the brain, which affects function and activity. This explains why, with age, diabetics may experience slower mental performance. Medical experts recommend that diabetics be proactive in managing the disease by following doctor’s instructions for proper diet, exercise, medications, lifestyle and glucose levels, as well as scheduling regular follow-up visits.
  2. Hearing loss – Diabetics are twice as likely to experience hearing loss as they age. The National Institutes of Health also reports that 30 percent of pre-diabetics, with higher-than-normal glucose levels, can experience hearing loss. The disease can affect the small blood vessels in the inner ear, causing impairment. Protect hearing by regularly monitoring blood sugar levels.
  3. Gum disease – Health experts report that diabetics are more prone to developing periodontal disease, an infection of the gums, that can lead to tooth loss. A study of 9,000 people at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health discovered that individuals with higher levels of periodontal disease were more likely to become diabetic within the next two decades, as compared to those without the disease. Periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, making it more difficult to control diabetes. Advice: Prevent oral health problems by brushing twice daily, flossing once each day and using an antiseptic mouthwash daily.
  4. Obstructive sleep apnea – About 50 percent of diabetics experience obstructive sleep apnea. People who are obese and have a collar size of more than 17 (men) or 16 (women) are more likely to suffer from apnea when they sleep. A 2014 study featured by the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine discovered that people with severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea may have a 30 percent higher risk for developing diabetes.


American Diabetes Association