Type 1 diabetes: complications

A well-followed treatment usually allows to obtain glycemic profiles that are close to normal blood glucose levels, and to avoid the development of long-term complications.

Appearing in case of prolonged imbalance of diabetes (often after 10 to 20 years of evolution), these complications can evolve silently and pass unnoticed at the beginning, mainly due to an attack of the wall of the blood vessels which bring the blood towards the organs.

Diabetic microangiopathy

Diabetic microangiopathy is the involvement of small blood vessels and includes:

  • diabetic nephropathy (involvement of small vessels of the kidneys),
  • diabetic retinopathy (damage to the retina, a thin membrane essential to vision that covers the back of the eye that may eventually cause a decline in vision) and
  • Diabetic neuropathy (involvement of the nerves resulting in pain with no apparent cause or loss of sensitivity to cold or heat, touch, pain).

Diabetic macroangiopathy

Diabetic macroangiopathy is the attack of large blood vessels: arteries of the lower limbs, heart and brain.

In addition to hyperglycemia, other cardiovascular risk factors may promote these complications (high blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco) and must also be managed.


Insulin therapy promotes the use of glucose and therefore leads to rapid weight recovery after diagnosis. A verdict from the balance that many teenagers who take insulin live as shock then refuse to follow their treatment.

The term "diabulimia", used by the British, is actually a contraction of "diabetes" and "bulimia" denoting people with type 1 diabetes who reduce their insulin doses to lose weight, or at least avoid regrowing.

Young women with diabetes are twice as likely to have a eating disorder as their non-diabetic counterparts (10% would have anorexia or bulimia).

The danger is not immediate when the doses are moderately reduced, but the glycemic imbalance can lead 10 or 20 years later to the development of diabetes complications.

On the other hand, in the event of complete cessation of their insulin injections, the consequences can be dramatic (the lack of insulin generates a glycemic imbalance obliging their body to draw on their reserves of fats, and thus leads to an excessive production of acetone may lead to coma).

Behavior most often hidden, some signs can however arouse the suspicions of the entourage (weight loss, nausea and vomiting).

It is possible to rely on patient associations (FFD: French Diabetes Federation, AJD: Assistance to Young Diabetics) and a consultation with a psychologist or a psychiatrist specializing in eating disorders can help resolve the situation.

Diabetes: all associations by region

The list of contact details (address, telephone, website ...) of the main diabetes associations in France, classified by region!

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Read also :

> Diabetes: the importance of foot care
> The different cardiovascular diseases
> Myocardial infarction: what you need to know

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