How long before Complications occur

Are complications inevitable? How many years of diagnosis before they would happen?

@Lilly. It’s a good question… I think complications occur some between zero yeas and never. The onset of complications as well as root cause is only vaguely understood. Sometimes complications are the tesuly of your immune system (not blood sugar related) sometimes they are blood sugar related. Those that are blood sugar related can be kept at bay forever with good control.

Hi @Lilly , an answer to this may depend on what you - and others including the medical profession - call a “diabetes complication”. In many ways, and in my opinion, diabetes is “blamed” for conditions that occur during the natural course of life.

An argument with which I will concur is that diabetes, either poorly managed or very well managed, may increase one’s probability for certain happenings. Consider a “heart attack”: there is creditable evidence that people with diabetes [PWD] have an increased tendency to have certain heart conditions, but consider the thousands [millions?] of people every year having and dying of a heart attack who never had diabetes; it has been noted that PWD have a higher survival rate from a first heart attack than non-diabetics - probably because PWD take better care of themselves. Obesity is another condition blamed on diabetes, but extremely rare is a person with TypeOne Diabetes diagnosed with this very deadly condition.

The list goes on and on, but the bottom line as @Joe says, some people with T1D never develop the conditions referred to as diabetes complications. I truly hope that you never do.

This is an interesting question that has many answers, I believe. I have been Type One for over 72 years and have had no complications. Perhaps my only complication was a problem with a couple of arteries that were in need of “fixing” but the doctor in the Texas Heart Institute indicated that no attack did occur and the complication was not necessarily the result of being diabetic. I am also Celiac which occurs more often with diabetic patients which makes the diet more complex. Just take good care of yourself and that is the big step toward having no complications.

Congratulations Leon @uhex, on your 72 years living with diabetes - you’ve been in this game ten years longer than I.
I’ve heard “autoimmune disease” which includes, amongst others, TypeOne, Celiac, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crones, Graves, IBD, Lupus, MS, etc. as "either and both an overactive or underactive immune system. Yes, a wide ‘catchall’ and it can not really be said that one may have caused another if one is “blessed” by two or more of these conditions.
One that affects me is Polyneuropathy which constricts my eye pupils, ear canals and coronary arteries. Of course, we all know people with the conditions I listed who do not have diabetes symptoms.

Dennis, just guess l’ll add another possibility to my list. l have been very fortunate to have lived a good life (87) and have had a wonderful family with only one daughter who has had T1 now for 55 years with no complications and has had two healthy sons - a lot to be thankful for. Hoping good fortune to you too.


Hi Lilly, I agree with everyone, I have been a type 1 for 64 years without any complications related to my diabetes. I have RA, and a few other problem also an amputee, but none of these conditions are related to my diabetes, eyes a clear, kidneys great , so I will say not inevitable. I was given the doom and gloom lecture trying to scare me into being good, instead I figured out what works for me. Hope this helps. Bye Jan

Hey Lilly!
I toaltly relate. As soon as I feel like maybe my numbers are going to stay steady something happens and I’m talking to my parents and doctor AGAIN about making bolts adjustments. Try to stay strong! It’s a trick you disease and there’s no one solution. If you ever need to talk I’m here!

Thank you for the insight. I am realizing that I asked a question with no simple answer and a lot of variables.
I like the idea of “between zero years and never”. :smile:

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Thank you, I see “complications” differently now. It seems to be a very general term.

@UHEX thank you, that is really inspiring and uplifting. I would also like to say congratulations on 72 years of diabetes.

@JaniceD Thank you, I think a lot of us have the doom and gloom lecture, or read about it. I will try to find what works for me.

Hi @cupkate! Thank you for the reply!
Yes, exactly, I actually posted the question after one of my highest blood sugars ever, so I had to make adjustments later.
(Btw, I like your username :smile:)

(Still figuring out how to use this forum, I am hope this format is the best way to do it… :joy:)

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Hey Lilly!
Haha thank you so much I thought it was kinda clever too! I actually replied to yours after one of my worst lows! My numbers have been pretty good except for the massive lows. I got down to almost 36 and it took a soda, a popsicle, 2 cupcakes, a juice box, 4 cookies, and a cup of milk to bring me to just barely 80! I was afraid to make adjustments because other then some of those lows I haven’t had a high number but if I keep going I’m gonna gain 10 pounds before school starts!! I hate highs too their the worst! They just make you loose energy like crazy! Do you notice any new symptoms over the years? I’m starting to have low symptoms I have never had before!

Oof, going that low is a pain! Yes, I have, I actually used to not feel lows at all, and I once went to 22 without any noticeable symptoms! So I am grateful that I can always tell now by how disoriented I get.
Btw, are you on shots or a pump? I don’t know if this would apply for you, but I sometimes can head off a low by reducing basal insulin on my pump.

I do have a pump and I have changed my bolus settings a lot but whenever I seem to fix one low time another pops up! But I’m getting a new pump soon the tslim and it’s supposed to auto suspend the pump when it looks at my dexcom and sees I’m going low so I can stabilize then it auto turns it back on so I’m hoping that will also help!

Who knew! I had some ear problems and overheard that I had unusually narrowed ear canal – they did not it on diabetes because they did not know I had it! But thanks to your comment I know — why the problem happened now — but never before.

Sounds like you got some good mileage> out of your low. Enjoy!
Goes to show that diabetes affects us all differently – good to learn early on how we react.Onlytwice in my 11 years of diabetes did I have a low that I could not seem to raise. Scary! For a while I would overcompensate a low and go waaaaay high afterwards. Have learned that unless I take my digestive enzyme with a meal it may take a while for it to show ( i.e. I will stay fairly low until the food is digested.) The doctor called it gastroparesis and prescribed something I did not take — I avoid meds when possible. Instead I take digestive enzyme with meals and aloe juice in the morning – and do well.I am no longer afraid of lows ( apple juice boxes are a quick fix.) What I try to avoid are high-highs — that happen if I overcompensate OR FORGET to take my evening long acting NOVOLOG and maybe eat something extra and wake up in 300’s or even 400s. That is dangerous and I swear I will never let it happen again. Need to find a foolproof way to remember. At this time I connect it to nightly brushing and flossing ( which I have been known to forget, alas!)
Most of the time I treat diabetes as a worthy opponent that I continue to outwit. I was happy to learn that side effects of diabetes are not written in stone. One can always add to the store of weapons! This is a great site for that!

Hi Lilly,

I’m in agreement with what everyone else here has posted. Regarding complications, the good news is that as long as you are diligent in finding a good endocrinologist, regular doctor, eye doctor, etc. and see them on a regular basis, they can help you as well as offer treatments (if neccessary) to help delay any complications they might see in your future or at least help off-set anything from getting worse. Be proactive with it but not to worry too much about what could happen. Easier said than done, I know. :wink: The ability for good diabetic control has come a long way since the last century. However, the highs and lows are still inevitable. Just stay on top of correcting your numbers when needed and try to take things in stride as best you can. Also, as you get older, other health issues may or may not come up and they could be related to the diabetes (or not). Family history will play a part in what you could expect down the road as well. Try not to let the disease get in the way of you enjoying your life though. If something does come up, you will get through it, and become a stronger person because of it.
I hope this helps a bit.

Take Care,

Type 1 - 30 years

Hi, Lilly,
What I’ve heard is that diabetes complications seem to happen in the first 20 years after diagnosis or not at all. That of course depends on if you can maintain good control after the 20 years, generally. I know since I’ve been a Type 1 since 1956, 62 years and going string.
I DO have some neuropathy in my feet, but I also worked standing on hard concrete floors for about 40 years, and many others that aren’t diabetic seem to have developed it too.
Beyond that I have totally clear retinas and no other complications. Pretty sure it comes from my insistence over the years on maintaining the best control I could, depending on the technology available at the time.