Complications of Diabetes

People with diabetes are at risk for developing other serious health problems. Making lifestyle changes and seeing your diabetes specialist in Los Angeles for treatment, can delay or even prevent the onset of complications.

Skin Complications

Skin complications can be the first sign that you have diabetes. If caught early, they can be easily treated.
Some of these problems are skin conditions anyone can have, but people with diabetes get more easily. These include bacterial infections, fungal infections, and itching. Other skin problems happen mostly or only to people with diabetes. These include diabetic dermopathy, necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum, diabetic blisters, and eruptive xanthomatosis. [American Diabetes Association.]

Eye Complications

You may have heard frightening stories about diabetes leading to blindness. The truth of the matter is that most people with diabetes only have minor eye disorders. Although having diabetes does in fact put you at a higher risk for blindness than people without the illness, you can often nip the problem in the bud with regular checkups and treatments with your diabetes specialist in Los Angeles.


About half of all people with diabetes develop a form of nerve damage called neuropathy. It commonly develops after a number of years with the illness and can lead to other medical issues. The most important factor in preventing and controlling neuropathy is keeping your blood glucose levels on target. There are also more advanced treatments that can help.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA)

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious condition that can lead to diabetic coma or even death.
When your cells don’t get the glucose they need for energy, your body begins to burn fat for energy, which produces ketones. Ketones are chemicals that the body creates when it breaks down fat to use for energy. The body does this when it doesn’t have enough insulin to use glucose, the body’s normal source of energy. When ketones build up in the blood, they make it more acidic. They are a warning sign that your diabetes is out of control or that you are getting sick. 
When your body’s ketone levels get too high, you develop DKA, which means your body has been poisoned by the ketones. Treatment takes place in the hospital. You can prevent DKA by checking your blood sugar levels regularly.

Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)

There are millions of tiny blood vessels inside the kidneys that act as filters, removing waste products from the blood. Diabetes can damage the kidneys and cause the filtering system to break down. When the kidneys lose their ability to filter out waste products, it results in kidney disease. Treatments include self-care, drugs, and diet.
If you reach the point of kidney failure, dialysis becomes necessary. Then, you must decide whether to continue dialysis or receive a kidney transplant. For help making this important decision, you should consult with:

Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndrome (HHNS)

HHNS is a very serious condition which is usually seen in older adults. It is more common in people with type II diabetes– but can happen to people with either type.
An illness or infection in a person who has diabetes leads to severe dehydration. Severe dehydration will lead to seizures, coma and eventually death. HHNS may take days or even weeks to develop. Know the warning signs of HHNS:

  • Blood sugar level over 600 mg/dl
  • Dry, parched mouth
  • Extreme thirst (although this may gradually disappear)
  • Warm, dry skin that does not sweat
  • High fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit, for example)
  • Sleepiness or confusion
  • Loss of vision
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)
  • Weakness on one side of the body

If you have any of these symptoms, call someone on your health care team. [American Diabetes Association.]
HHNS only occurs when diabetes isnot controlled well, so check your numbers regularly.


Gastroparesis occurs in people with both type I and type II diabetes. It is when the stomach takes too long to empty its contents due to damage to the vagus nerve. It is a type of neuropathy (nerve damage.)
If food stays too long in the stomach, it can cause problems like bacterial overgrowth because the food has fermented. Also, the food can harden into solid masses called bezoars that may cause nausea, vomiting, and obstruction in the stomach. Bezoars can be dangerous if they block the passage of food into the small intestine.[American Diabetes Association.]

High Blood Pressure

Nearly 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure and 2 in 3 people with diabetes report having high blood pressure or take prescription medications to lower their blood pressure. [ADA.] High blood pressure forces your heart to work harder, raising your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems.


When you have a stroke, the blood supply to part of your brain suddenly stops, and brain tissue is damaged. Usually, it is caused by a blood clot blocking a blood vessel in the neck or brain. “A stroke can cause movement problems, pain, numbness and problems with thinking, remembering or speaking. Some people also have emotional problems, such as depression, after a stroke.” 
People who have diabetes have 1.5 times higher chances of having a stroke. You can lower your risk by controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Healthy eating and regular activity also help. Also, ask your diabetes specialist in Los Angeles if medication is appropriate for you. “Every step you take will help.”

Diabetes Specialist in Los Angeles

Dr. Victor Gura, MD is a Board-Certified Kidney Specialist and Internist practicing in Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Gura is the pioneering inventor of the Wearable Artificial Kidney (WAK.) The WAK eliminates the need for the common inconvenient and immobile dialysis machine. WAK is a miniaturized dialysis machine that a patient can wear 24 hours a day. At his Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles practice, Dr. Gura offers a comprehensive array of treatment options through compassionate, patient-centered care. Call 310-550-6240 or Book Online!