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Shadows of Diabetes

Diabetes is a complex long-standing disease. If not controlled early and effectively it can result in many complications involving multiple organs in the body which can be referred to as shadows cast by Diabetes on different organ systems in our body. Some of these complications include stroke, cardiovascular disorders (CVD), obesity, vision loss, chronic kidney disease etc. Worldwide, one person dies every 8 seconds from diabetes and its complications1


Uncontrolled Diabetes casts a shadow of concomitant Obesity. Obesity is known to be the main risk factor for a number of non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, and certain types of cancers. 2
Risk of Diabetes increases 4.5% for every 1kg raise in bodyweight.3 Obesity increases the mortality risk by 7-fold in people with Diabetes. 4

Uncontrolled Diabetes with obesity casts a shadow

Cardiovascular Diseases

Uncontrolled diabetes and obesity casts a shadow on your heart. Many people with Diabetes already have macrovascular complications by the time they are diagnosed.5  People with T2D are at a 75% increased risk of developing Cardiovascular disease compared with those without diabetes.6 In fact, Heart disease is the leading cause of disability and death for people with T2D.1 On an average, for a person with T2D aged 60 yrs and has experienced a heart attack or stroke, the life expectancy is reduced by 12 years.7

Uncontrolled Diabetes casts a shadow on your heart

Kidney Disease

Uncontrolled diabetes and obesity cast a shadow on your kidneys. Chronic kidney disease is one of the common long-term complications of diabetes.1 Diabetes, hypertension, kidney failure and CVD are highly linked.5 Approximately 40% of people with T2D have kidney diseases.The risk of chronic kidney disease is over 2.5 times higher in people with obesity compared to people with normal body weight.

Uncontrolled Diabetes casts a shadow on your Kidneys


Uncontrolled blood sugar levels in people with diabetes damage the walls of the blood vessels, thereby speeding up the process of atherosclerosis. People with diabetes also tend to have high levels of the types of fats in their blood that get turned into plaques. High levels of sugar in the blood also make blood more likely to stick together to form clots. When a clot reaches the brain, it can cause stroke. A stroke can have a significant effect on physical and mental health—it can cause movement problems, numbness, and problems with thinking, remembering, or speaking among other symptoms. Some people also experience emotional problems, such as depression, after a stroke.10, 11

Unfortunately, when people with diabetes have a stroke, they are at an increased risk of dying or being left with a long-term disability, versus someone without diabetes.12

Uncontrolled Diabetes casts a shadow on your Blood Vessels

IT IS TIME TO LOOK AT THERAPIES WHICH REDUCE YOUR A1C + WEIGHT + CV RISK. Speak to your health care provider to know more about the newer possibilities in diabetes treatment available lately. 

Here’s an illustration/illustrative guide to help you have a good conversation with your healthcare provider about the shadows of diabetes.

  1. IDF atlas 10th edition (2021) available at: https://diabetesatlas.org/.  last accessed on Feb 2022.
  2. Leitner DR, Frühbeck G, Yumuk V, et al. Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: Two Diseases with a Need for Combined Treatment Strategies - EASO Can Lead the Way. Obes Facts. 2017;10(5):483-492. doi:10.1159/000480525
  3. Galaviz KI, Narayan KMV, Lobelo F, Weber MB. Lifestyle and the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes: A Status Report. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2015;12(1):4-20. Published 2015 Nov 24. doi:10.1177/1559827615619159
  4. Oldridge NB et al. Prevalence and outcomes of comorbid metabolic and cardiovascular conditions in middle- and older-age adults. J Clin Epidemiol. 2001 Sep;54(9):928-34.
  5. M. Laakso, J. Kuusisto, Diabetology for cardiologists, European Heart Journal Supplements, Volume 5, Issue suppl_B, January 2003, Pages B5–B13, https://doi.org/10.1016/S1520-765X(03)90035-6
  6. Fox CS, Pencina MJ, Wilson PWF et al. Lifetime Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Among Individuals With and Without Diabetes Stratified by Obesity Status in the Framingham Heart Study. Diabetes Care 1 August 2008; 31 (8): 1582–1584. https://doi.org/10.2337/dc08-0025
  7. Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration, Di Angelantonio E, Kaptoge S, Wormser D et al. Association of Cardiometabolic Multimorbidity With Mortality. JAMA. 2015 Jul 7;314(1):52-60. doi: 10.1001/jama.2015.7008. Erratum in: JAMA. 2015 Sep 15;314(11):1179.
  8. Wu B, Bell K, Stanford A, et al Understanding CKD among patients with T2DM: prevalence, temporal trends, and treatment patterns—NHANES 2007–2012BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 2016;4:e000154. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2015-000154
  9. MacLaughlin, H., Hall, W., Sanders, T., & Macdougall, I. (2015). Risk for chronic kidney disease increases with obesity: Health Survey for England 2010. Public Health Nutrition, 18(18), 3349-3354. doi:10.1017/S1368980015000488
  10. Chen R, Ovbiagele B, Feng W. Diabetes and Stroke: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, Pharmaceuticals and Outcomes. Am J Med Sci. 2016;351(4):380-386. doi:10.1016/j.amjms.2016.01.011
  11. Stroke Signs and symptoms. CDC. Available at https://www.cdc.gov/stroke/signs_symptoms.htm. Last accessed Mar 2022
  12. Echouffo-Tcheugui JB, et al. Eur Heart J 2018; 39:2376–2386