Statistics of Diabetes Complications

Heart disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of diabetes-related deaths. Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times as high as those of adults without diabetes.


The risk of stroke is 2 to 4 times higher in people with diabetes.

High blood pressure

An estimated 60 to 65 percent of people with diabetes have high blood pressure.


Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20 to 74 years old.

Diabetic retinopathy causes from 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.

Kidney disease

Diabetes is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, accounting for about 40 percent of new cases.

27,851 people with diabetes developed end-stage renal disease in 1995.

In 1995, a total of 98,872 people with diabetes underwent dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Nervous system disease

About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage (which often includes impaired sensation or pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion of food in the stomach, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other nerve problems).

Severe forms of diabetic nerve disease are a major contributing cause of lower extremity amputations.


More than half of lower limb amputations in the United States occur among people with diabetes.

From 1993 to 1995, about 67,000 amputations were performed each year among people with diabetes.

Dental disease

Periodontal disease (a type of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss) occurs with greater frequency and severity among people with diabetes. Periodontal disease has been reported to occur among 30 percent of people age 19 years or older with type 1 diabetes.

Complications of pregnancy

The rate of major congenital malformations in babies born to women with preexisting diabetes varies from 0 to 5 percent among women who receive preconception care to 10 percent among women who do not receive preconception care.

Between 3 and 5 percent of pregnancies among women with diabetes result in death of the newborn; the rate for women who do not have diabetes is 1.5 percent.

Other complications

Diabetes can directly cause acute life-threatening events, such as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar nonketotic coma.

People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses. For example, they are more likely to die of pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.

* Diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar nonketotic coma are medical conditions that can result from biochemical imbalance in uncontrolled diabetes.

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Reprinted with permission from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

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