Diabetes: Common Signs and Symptoms

Patient

Q: Hi doctor. i am a 20 year old female who is concerned that I might have diabetes. I know my aunt has type 2 diabetes, but unsure if it is hereditary. i had excellent vision up until a couple years ago, and needed to get glasses. i have always been overweight, even as a child, but do get my exercise. i have always had a problem with frequent urination. lately i have been waking up with tingly numb hands. and have been having extremely itchy irritated skin, and soreness under my armpits. my appitite has also grown, and i have frequently been getting yeast infections, which i have never experienced before hand. please let me know if i should go to a doctor. thank you for your time and hope to hear back from you.

Doctor

A:   There are 2 types of Diabetes. Type 1 usually presents in adolescents; there are various theories as to its causes (autoimmune, viral) however the root cause of this type is yet to be determined. Type 2 Diabetes is hereditary and is also linked to obesity. The symptoms you are having can be caused by a lot of factors. Vision changes in diabetes usually present after 5-10 years of the disease. This complication can be delayed if glucose levels are closely monitored and controlled. With frequent urination, some people may have a small bladder compared to others, hence it gets filled sooner and one may void more frequently. Also, drinking lots of fluids and having coffee can produce frequent urination. A urinary tract infection may also present w/ frequent urination. Tingling and numbing of hands can occur in Diabetes but is more common on the feet. Maybe you were lying on one side when you were sleeping hence it resulted to numbing of your hands. In diabetes, numbness or tingling is usually constant. As to your skin complaints, a lot of factors can also attribute to that (lotions, deodorants, soaps, allergens). Yeast infections are caused by overgrowth of normal yeast colonizing the vagina and it may worsen in the presence of diabetes. Also, washing the genitalia after sexual intercourse can prevent yeast infections. Avoiding moist conditions or too tight jeans can help improve yeast infections. What I am trying to say is try to double check if you have done these things. If you have, try avoiding them. If your symptoms persist even after you have avoided them, then it will be high time to consult a doctor and request for blood tests. I am not saying your complaints are unfounded or unreasonable because most of your symptoms may be found in diabetes; it is possible that you have diabetes but since you are still young, it can be very well controlled w/ lifestyle modifications (diet, moderate exercise).  I commend you for doing exercises and I do hope you continue that. Diabetes has 3 P's: polyuria (frequent and high volume urine), polydipsia (excessive thirst) and polyphagia (appetite that is hard to satisfy). If you want to be sure, you may consult a doctor as soon as possible and have blood tests done. I do hope I have enlightened you somehow. Take care always.

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