Diabetes mellitus is a long-term disorder associated with a number of clinical problems causing ill health and death. Disease affecting the small blood vessels in the retina, kidney, and peripheral nerves appears to be most directly related to the duration and severity of the raised blood glucose (hyperglycemia). These complications are termed "microvascular" and may result in blindness, chronic renal failure requiring dialysis, and nerve damage to the feet contributing to the formation of foot deformity and ulceration. Large blood vessels are also affected ("macrovascular" disease) in the heart, brain, and peripheral circulation. People with diabetes have higher rates of coronary heart disease,4849 stroke,50 and peripheral vascular disease51 compared to similar subjects of the same age and sex. This contributes significantly to the higher rates of ill health and early death in people with diabetes.
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