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Microvascular Complications of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus


Charles Faselis*, Alexandra Katsimardou, Konstantinos Imprialos, Pavlos Deligkaris, Manolis Kallistratos and Kiriakos Dimitriadis   Pages 1 - 8 ( 8 )


Background: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic, noncommunicable, multi-system disease that has reached epidemic proportions in the previous decade. Chronic exposure to hyperglycemia affects the microvasculature, eventually leading to diabetic nephropathy, diabetic retinopathy and diabetic neuropathy with high impact on quality of life and overall life expectancy of diabetic patients. Sexual dysfunction is an often-overlooked microvascular complication of T2DM, with a complex pathogenesis originating from endothelial dysfunction.

Objective: The purpose of this review is to present current definitions, epidemiological data and risk factors for diabetic retinopathy, diabetic nephropathy, diabetic neuropathy and sexual dysfunction, as well as to describe the clinical and laboratory evaluation that is mandatory for the diagnosis of these conditions.

Method: A comprehensive review of the literature was performed to identify data from clinical studies for the prevalence, risk factors and diagnostic methods of microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Results: Diabetic nephropathy and diabetic retinopathy affect approximately 25% of type 2 diabetic patients, diabetic neuropathy is encountered in almost 50% of the diabetic population, while the prevalence of erectile dysfunction ranges from 35 to 90% in diabetic men. The duration of diabetes mellitus along with glycemic, blood pressure and lipid control are common risk factors for the development of these complications. Criteria for the diagnosis of these conditions are well established, although exclusion of other causes is mandatory to ensure the diagnosis.

Conclusion: Early detection of microvascular complications is of great importance, as early intervention leads to better outcomes, but requires awareness of their definition, prevalence and diagnostic modalities.


diabetes mellitus, diabetic kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, erectile dysfunction


VAMC, Washington, D.C., 2nd Prop Department of Internal Medicine, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, 2nd Prop Department of Internal Medicine, Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Department of Neurology, Hippokrateion Hospital, Thessaloniki, Cardiology Department, Asklepeion hospital, Athens, 1st Department of Cardiology, University of Athens

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