Signs, Symptoms and Complications of Diabetes

Patient

Q: What are all the signs of diabetes?

Doctor

A:   There are actually 2 types of Diabetes. Type 1 usually presents in puberty; some theorize that this may be cuased by a virus but is yet to be proven. Type 2 occurs in middle-aged individuals; this type is mostly hereditary. Diabetes is a condition wherein there is insulin resistance. The role of insulin is it facilitates entry of glucose (primary sugar used as fuel by the body) into the cells. In diabetes, this role of insulin is greatly decreased, hence, glucose will stay in the blood and the individual may have high blood sugar levels. In Type 1 diabetes, it usually has a sudden presentation; individuals (pre-teeners or teenagers) may present with abdominal pain, some with high grade fever or other signs and symptoms and it will be found in urine and/or blood tests that the sugar levels are high. In Types 2 diabetes, it is a more gradual course, some may have no symptoms for 5-10 years and when routine blood tests are done, sugar levels are high. Fasting blood sugar levels at 126mg/dL or symptoms of diabetes plus random (any time of day) blood sugar levels >200mg/dl is diagnostic of diabetes. Common signs and symptoms of diabetes are overeating which never seems to get satisfied, frequent urination and frequent drinking. But most individuals don’t recognize this. Some will have wounds that heal too slow and may sometimes ulcerate, others have pins and needles sensation on hands and feet, some may lose the pain sensation on the feet, others have gradual vision loss, among others. In women, vaginal yeast infection may be experienced. Poorly-controlled diabetes (high blood sugar levels) can make the blood very sticky and can clog blood vessels, which may lead to kidney failure, strokes and heart attack. In general, those with diabetes are prone to all kinds of infection and good sugar control is needed to prevent this. Medications alone may help diabetes but when it is coupled with lifestyle changes (exercise) and dietary modifications (low sugar, high fiber diet), this will help a lot to normalize the blood sugar levels and prevent the complications that entail diabetes. I do hope I have answered your question. Take care always.

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