Complications of Diabetes

The complications of diabetes places considerable burden to society, leading to morbidity in five to ten percent of those afflicted with diabetes. The predicted sharp rise of diabetes in the coming years is set to escalate the cost of treating these diabetic complications.

Fortunately, the potential for life-saving diabetes treatment can be found in emerging research. A progeny of cutting-edge scientific innovations spur potential advancements in generating B cells, insulin-producing pancreatic cells. 

B cells are tasked with the job of making insulin- an important hormone central in regulating fat and carbohydrate metabolism. If there is inadequate insulin produced, cells in the liver, muscle, and fat tissue cannot take in glucose (sugar) from the blood. When glucose accumulates in the blood, the excess glucose can attach to proteins in the vessels and alter their normal structure. Ultimately, high blood glucose causes damage to blood vessels. This damage can lead to heart, kidney, and nervous system diseases as well.


For more information about diabetes and its complications:

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)
List of Complications of Diabetes


Key Facts About Diabetes and its Complications

• National inpatient hospital costs for diabetes with complications were nearly $3.8 billion in 2001.

• The risk of hospitalization from cardiovascular disease is two to four times higher for women with diabetes as compared to women without diabetes.

• Patients hospitalized with diabetes are 28 times more likely to have an amputation than patients without diabetes.

• 40% of patients with type 2 diabetes have some degree of renal impairment.

Source: Plantinga LC, Crews DC, Coresh J, et al; for the CDC CKD Surveillance Team. Prevalence of chronic kidney disease in US adults with undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2010;5:673-682.

• Health care costs are three times higher for diabetes patients with multiple hospitalizations as compared to diabetes patients with a single stay in a given year.

• Patients with diabetes who are racial/ethnic minorities, enrolled in public insurance programs, or living in low-income communities are more likely to experience multiple hospitalizations and have higher hospital costs than their counterparts.

• With appropriate primary care for diabetes complications, nearly $2.5 billion in hospital costs might have been averted, with significant potential savings obtained in Medicare ($1.3 billion of total costs) and Medicaid ($386 million of total costs). 

Source: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. “Economic and Health Costs of Diabetes.”



Complications by Population Segment
Source:  American Diabetes Association 

Pregnant Women
African Americans
Native Americans
Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians & Other Pacific Islanders