Which are the Body Parts Affected by Diabetes?

Diabetes is caused when the pancreas of the body is not able to produce insulin or the body is unable to utilize the insulin efficiently. Diabetes is often marked by an increase in the blood sugar level, giving rise to a lot of complications.

Following are a few organs affected by diabetes:

How does Diabetes Weaken the Immune System?

It is said that type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. When a person is affected by it, the immune system of the body begins to react against its own immune system. When our body is attacked by viruses, the T-cells of the body produce antibodies which help to fight against these viruses. Now sometimes, these antibodies act against the beta cells when both these types have the same property. It is the beta cell which is responsible for the production of insulin in the body.

In type 2 diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin. This results in the release of cytokines. The fat cells thus lead to higher production of fatty acid in the blood, which ultimately results in high cholesterol.

Effect of Diabetes on the Endocrine System

The endocrine system of our body is the one which is associated with the production of hormones. The main hormones affected by the condition is insulin produced by the pancreas and glucagon produced by the liver.

In a healthy person, insulin and glucagon are mainly responsible for working together and enable the cells to utilize the glucose from the food in order to release energy. However, when a person is suffering from diabetes, this balance is adversely affected.

In type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce insulin while in type 2 diabetes the insulin so produced is not utilized efficiently. Both this results in high blood glucose levels causing all the below-mentioned complications.

What is the Effect of Diabetes on Eye?

Diabetic eye problems are a common phenomenon as diabetes exposes you to a lot of complications:


If a diabetic patient has the problem of high blood sugar level, the possibility of cataract becomes very high in such a patient.


There are possibilities that there will be changes in the retina. The blood vessels in the retina are damaged due to the high blood pressure.


In this case of glaucoma, there is a pressure which develops in the eye, which, in turn, decreases the flow of blood to the retina. This leads to the ultimate damage. This problem may ultimately lead to vision loss and so should not be ignored at any cost.

To avoid the eye problems, you need to keep the blood pressure under control besides avoiding smoke and tobacco.

Effect of Diabetes on Kidney

When you have diabetes, you are at a greater risk of suffering from high blood pressure. This could lead to diabetic nephropathy or disease related to the kidneys.

Kidney failure caused by diabetes is a result of high blood pressure in diabetes which has not been brought down to the required levels over a long period of time.

Diabetic Kidney Disease Symptoms

In order to identify whether or not a diabetic has a problem in the kidney, the following symptoms are looked for by the doctors:

The total amount of protein in the kidney. The kidney protein is called albumin. This is the sign that the diabetic patient has developed problems in the kidney. The patient is therefore advised to reduce the total amount of protein intake apart from medications and drugs.

If the problems in the kidney are not controlled over a period of time, surgical operations may be prescribed by the doctors for kidney transplant or dialysis.

What is Diabetic Neuropathy?

According to National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), diabetic neuropathy refers to the damage caused to the nervous system owing to diabetes. Neuropathy and diabetes have known to be related since long and few of the symptoms include:

  • Numbness caused in the legs.
  • Too much of sweating.
  • Stomach emptying process is delayed.
  • Sharp pains in the lower parts of the feet.

Diabetic Neuropathy

The condition is very serious as a lot of other organs are also affected as a result of nerve damage. Organs and systems so affected include:

  • The reproductive system.
  • The digestive system.
  • Heart and the eyes.

Like in the case of other complications caused by diabetes, this condition can also be controlled by maintaining a healthy level of the blood sugar or glucose.

What are the Cardiovascular Diseases Caused by Diabetes?

The following are a few cardiovascular diseases that diabetes can lead to:

Heart attack:

A heart attack is caused by diabetes because the blood vessels which are responsible for the supply of blood to the heart are blocked.


Another cardiovascular disease caused to a diabetic is a stroke. This is the result of the blockage of the blood vessels which are responsible for the supply of blood to the brain.

Diabetic & Heart Disease

Besides the above, there is a blockage caused by the blood vessels which are responsible for the supply of blood to the legs as well as our feet. This, in turn, leads to problems such as infections of several types and ulcers.

What can Cause the Above Problems?

The above problems are caused when along with diabetes, the patient faces the following issues too:

  • High blood pressure for a prolonged period.
  • If the patient is too much into tobacco and smoking.
  • The patient is overweight and is not involved in the adequate amount of physical activity.
  • If the diabetic patient is suffering from increased levels of cholesterol or blood lipids.
  • Finally, if the patient already has a family history of a heart attack, he or she is more prone to getting one after all the above problems.

How can you Maintain a Healthy Heart?

If you are someone who is suffering from diabetes but at the same time are looking forward to maintaining a healthy heart, you should take the following steps:

  • Start getting involved in more physical activity so that you can lose weight naturally.
  • Stop drinking and smoking.
  • Regulate your diet as per the advice of an expert.
  • Take appropriate medicines.
  • Regulate the blood glucose levels

How Does Diabetes Affect the Digestive System?

Yet another body part or organs affected by diabetes happens to be the digestive system. Let us see the following points for details:

  • As seen above, diabetes is known to cause damage to the nerves if not controlled effectively. The nerve damage, in turn, can lead to severe problems in the digestive tract of the patient, either in the form of nausea or in the form of diarrhea.
  • Another reason why diabetes might affect the digestion of a person suffering from it is the fact that the drugs and medications taken for controlling diabetes could interfere with the proper working of the system.
  • The stomach which is the first organ through which the food passes will stop to function efficiently in case there is a nerve damage in the adjoining nerves.
  • Similarly, high levels of blood glucose can lead to damage to the nerves responsible for the proper functioning of other organs such as small intestine, large intestine or the colon.

The effects of diabetes on the digestive system of our body are said to be more prominent in the case of type 2 diabetes than in type 1 diabetes.

What is the Effect of Diabetes on the Integumentary System?

The integumentary system is essentially the skin. Diabetes affects the largest organ of the human body in the following several ways:

Table of Contents


Vitiligo refers to a skin condition wherein you can see patches of discolored skin on different parts of the body. The condition is the result of the damage which is caused to those cells that are responsible for lending color to the skin.


Eruptive Xanthomatosis

Due to the reduction of the blood supply in the skin and also due to the high levels of blood lipids caused in the diabetic patient, it becomes very difficult for the unwanted fats to be flushed out from the skin. As such, a yellow, pea-like wound is formed on different parts of the skin.

Eruptive Xanthomatosis

Acanthosis Nigricans

This is a skin condition which generally affects people who are obese. Hereby, certain areas of the skin become darkened and also there is thickening caused in the other areas. This condition is common in type 2 diabetes as the main reason is the body’s resistance to insulin.

Acanthosis Nigricans

What Leads to the Above Skin Problems?

  • As seen above, there is a possibility that if diabetes is not kept under control, damage can be caused to our nerves and blood vessels supplying blood to different organs.
  • High blood glucose levels can lead to excessive dehydration causing dry skin.

A Note on Diabetic Foot:

When the blood glucose levels for a diabetic patient are too high, over a period of time, foot problems may develop. There are two ways in which these foot problems are caused:

  • There is an extensive nerve damage in the blood vessels of the foot leading to various problems such as extreme itching, numbness caused in the legs, etc.
  • When the flow of blood to the area is hindered, it takes a longer time for the wound and sores to heal. This problem is also known as “Peripheral Vascular Disease.”

Effect of Diabetes on the Circulatory System:

Diabetes leads to extreme complications in the circulatory system of our body. It is this system which helps in the blood glucose levels to be regulated. Our blood carries the hormone, glucagon. Glucagon signal the liver to release glucose, which, in turn, is absorbed by the cells for releasing energy in the presence of the hormone, insulin. Thus, when the blood glucose levels rise to a considerable extent,the damage is caused to the blood vessels thereby resulting in all the above problems.

We hope that the above post has been helpful in education you as to the consequences of diabetes and how the body systems are affected by diabetes. Due to the effect of this condition on several body parts, it becomes extremely important to take good care of the disease under expert guidance!!

2 thoughts on “Which are the Body Parts Affected by Diabetes?

Leave a Reply