The most important health impacts of type 2 diabetes are the long-term complications it can cause. Most of these health problems are related to the effects of type 2 diabetes on arteries or nerves.
These artery problems are the most serious consequences of type 2 diabetes. Why does diabetes lead to artery damage? Part of the answer is that diabetes usually occurs in the company of other diseases that place the heart and arteries at risk. People with diabetes are more likely than other people to develop high blood pressure, obesity and high cholesterol.
When several risks to the heart or arteries occur together, they present a powerful health threat. This is known as the metabolic syndrome. If you are aggressive in treating each of these risk factors, you can greatly reduce your risk of heart attack and other problems caused by artery injury.
Many of these potential complications can significantly shorten the life of a person with type 2 diabetes. All of them can diminish the quality of life. But prevention is possible in many cases through diet and exercise, use of medications, careful control of your blood sugar and other protective measures.