Diabetes diagram – the body of evidence

Diabetes and high glucose levels can have health implications throughout your body. Take a tour of our interactive graphic to understand the areas of the anatomy affected by diabetes.


Nerves

We see, hear, feel and move thanks to the nerves. They carry messages from the brain to the rest of our body. Diabetes can cause neuropathy when high blood glucose levels damage blood vessels supplying nerves. High blood sugar interferes with transmission of nerve signals and weakens the capillaries that supply oxygen and nutrients.

Further problems include numbness, ulceration of feet and damage of the wider, peripheral nervous system. Affected nerves in digestive system may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation.

For more information on your Nervous System and Diabetes.

Nerves in a body
Kidney diagram

Kidneys

Stats show kidney disease develops in diabetics because of higher blood glucose levels. About 40% of people with diabetes develop kidney disease, known as nephropathy.

For more information on your Kidney and Diabetes.

Pancreas

The Pancreas produces insulin which is a vital hormone that the body needs so it is highly related to diabetes. It regulates blood glucose, but if insulin levels rise due to poor diet or health complications there is an increased risk of diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes: insulin producing cells attacked by body’s immune system. Pancreas struggles to produce insulin to keep blood sugar levels down and diabetes occurs.

Type 2 diabetes: Body builds insulin resistance and more is needed to lower blood glucose. If pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, diabetes appears.

For more information on your Pancreas and Diabetes.

Pancreas
Feet

Feet

Diabetes damages blood supply and nerves. Open sores (ulcers) can be difficult to heal. Small nicks and cuts may go unnoticed and, worsened by poor circulation, cause ulcers. One in 10 diabetics gets a foot ulcer, which can mean serious infection. At worse, problems can lead to amputations.

For more information on your Feet and Diabetes.

Eyes

Higher blood glucose levels means thicker blood. It draws on more fluid from surrounding tissue – including the lenses of the eyes. This can impair focus and lead to Diabetic retinopathy (retina damage) which is when blood vessels are damaged. This prevents light getting to the retina. Without treatment, vision can be harmed.

For more information on your Eyes and Diabetes.

Eye Ball
Heart diagram

Heart

Further problems include numbness, ulceration of feet and damage of the wider, peripheral nervous system. Affected nerves in digestive system may cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and constipation.

For more information on your Heart and Diabetes.

Genitals

Men with diabetes face possible erection problems from nerve and blood vessel damage, particularly if they smoke. Overtime nerve damage to the erectile tissue, can make it impossible to achieve or maintain erection.

Women with diabetes may experience loss of libido, less sexual pleasure, vaginal dryness, less ability to orgasm and pain during sex. Further complications include possible miscarriage and still birth.

For more information on your Genitals and Diabetes.

Genitals diagram
Liver diagram

Liver

The liver manages a vast array of tasks, including digesting fats, making and storing glucose and serving as the body's detox center. A malfunctioning liver may lead to the development of type 2 diabetes or worsen high blood glucose levels for those who already have the disease.