What are the complications of diabetes mellitus

Diabetes Germany


In the case of diabetes mellitus and its treatment, it is possible for blood sugar levels to go up or down. In addition, the insulin deficiency in type 1 diabetes can lead to dangerous hyperacidity of the blood.

The most common side effect of diabetes therapy with insulin is Low blood sugar (= hypoglycemia). Hypoglycaemia can also occur in individual cases during treatment with blood sugar-lowering tablets such as sulphonylurea preparations or glinides. The cause of hypoglycaemia with too low blood sugar levels is an oversupply of insulin and, at the same time, an insufficient supply of carbohydrates. If left untreated, hypoglycaemia can be life-threatening.

Another possible complication is that diabetic ketoacidosiswhich occurs predominantly in patients with type 1 diabetes: The insulin deficiency leads to the increased breakdown of fat into so-called fatty acids. The fatty acids accumulate in the body and are only incompletely broken down into so-called ketone bodies. These acidify the blood (ketoacidosis), which can be life-threatening and even lead to a coma - the so-called "Coma diabeticum“.

Older type 2 diabetics, in whom the pancreas still produces small amounts of insulin, can experience another form of metabolic imbalance. In some cases, the insulin secretion is just enough to inhibit the increased breakdown of fat. However, it is no longer sufficient to suppress increased production of glucose in the liver. The result is an increase in blood glucose concentration to sometimes extremely high levels. If left untreated, this metabolic imbalance can lead to unconsciousness - one speaks of one hyperosmolar coma - lead to death.

back to complications overview