The Facts About Diabetes Complications You Should Know

Diabetes fact sheet


Heart disease and stroke

  • Heart disease and stroke account for about 65% of deaths in people with diabetes.
  • Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
  • The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher and the risk of death from stroke is 2.8 times higher among people with diabetes.

High blood pressure

  • About 73% of adults with diabetes have blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or use prescription medications for hypertension.

Kidney Disease

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2005.
  • In 2005, 46,739 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
  • In 2002, a total of 178,689 people with ESRD due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant.

Nervous system disease

  • Almost 30% of people with diabetes aged 40 years or older have impaired sensation in the feet (i.e., at least one area that lacks feeling). Diabetic Peripheral Nephropathy
  • Severe forms of diabetic nerve disease are a major contributing cause of lower-extremity amputations.


  • More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
  • In 2004, about 71,000 nontraumatic lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes.
  • The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.

ESRD fact sheet

Anyone can get chronic kidney disease at any age. However, some people are more likely than others to develop kidney disease. You may have an increased risk for kidney disease if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have a family history of chronic kidney disease
  • Are older
  • belong to a population group that has a high rate of diabetes or high blood pressure, such as African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asians, Pacific Islanders and American Indians
  • 23% of ESRD patients are estimated to also have PAD

PAD fact sheet

Peripheral arterial disease (P.A.D.) affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States. African Americans are more than twice as likely as Caucasians to have P.A.D. The major risk factors for P.A.D. are smoking, age, and having certain diseases or conditions.


Smoking is more closely related to getting P.A.D. than any other risk factor. Your risk for P.A.D. increases four times if you smoke or have a history of smoking. On average, smokers who develop P.A.D. have symptoms 10 years earlier than nonsmokers who develop P.A.D.


As you get older, your risk for P.A.D. increases. Genetic or lifestyle factors cause plaque to build in your arteries as you age. About 5 percent of U.S. adults who are older than 50 have P.A.D. Among adults aged 65 and older, 12 to 20 percent may have P.A.D. Older age combined with other risk factors, such as smoking or diabetes, also puts you at higher risk.

Diseases and Conditions

A number of diseases and conditions can raise your risk for P.A.D. These include:

  • Diabetes. One in three people who has diabetes and is older than 50 is likely to have P.A.D.
  • High blood pressure or a family history of it.
  • High blood cholesterol or a family history of it.
  • Heart disease or a family history of it.
  • Stroke or a family history of it.