Can untreated Type 2 Diabetes cause kidney cancer and congestive heart failure?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 08, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Can diagnosed, yet untreated for 10 years, with Type 2 diabetes cause kidney cancer and congestive heart failure?

Expert Answers

Theresa Garnero is clinical nurse manager of Diabetes Services at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

Certainly uncontrolled diabetes puts people at a higher risk for many health consequences.

Typically, diabetes is accompanied by high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, all of which are hard on the heart and the kidneys. Imagine blood that is thickened a bit from high levels of sugar (glucose), with extra fat in it (from eating unhealthy, fatty foods), traveling through arteries that are slightly narrowed. This blood travels to all organs and the heart works extra hard to circulate it.

For these reasons, uncontrolled diabetes is a known risk factor for congestive heart failure.

I am not aware of diabetes causing any kind of specific type of cancer. New research suggests possible links between resistance to insulin (a common phenomenon with type 2 diabetes), cell metabolism and turnover, and cancer. The research does suggest that people with uncontrolled diabetes have a higher risk for cancer in general. What is known is that smoking, obesity and high blood pressure are risk factors for getting kidney cancer.