Diabetes: Know the symptoms

December 8, 2011

Almost 26 million Americans suffer with diabetes. Shockingly, another 79 million have pre-diabetes, and many are not even aware they have the disease.

It is estimated that by the year 2050, one-in-three American adults will have diabetes unless serious steps are taken to stop or prevent it. 

Diabetes often goes unnoticed and, therefore, untreated because the associated symptoms seem harmless. But they are anything from harmless.

Learning the symptoms of diabetes is important as early detection can lessen the chance of developing more serious complications from this disease.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from the body’s inability to produce and/or use insulin.

There are three types of diabetes:  

Type 1, also known as juvenile diabetes, is usually diagnosed in young adults and children and accounts for about 5 percent of all diabetics.  Insulin therapy is needed because the body does not produce insulin.
Type 2, also known as adult onset diabetes, it is the most common form of the disease. More than 90 percent of all diabetics have Type 2. Type 2 diabetics can produce insulin, but either the pancreas is not producing enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin adequately.

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women who did not have diabetes prior to their pregnancy. It develops in women who experience high blood glucose levels later in their pregnancy.    

What are the symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of the symptoms seem harmless or go unnoticed. Learning the symptoms of diabetes is important as early detection can decrease the chance of developing more serious complications from this disease.

Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes:

* Frequent urination
* Unusual thirst
* Extreme hunger
* Unusual weight loss    

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes:   
* Any of the Type 1 diabetes symptoms
* Frequent infections
* Blurred vision
* Cuts or bruises that are slow to heal

Who is at greatest risk for Type 2 diabetes?

* Those overweight
* Those over age 45
* Those with a family history of diabetes
* Those with impaired glucose tolerance
* Those who do not exercise regularly
* Those with a low HDL cholesterol level
* Those with a high triglycerides level
* Those with high blood pressure
* People of certain racial/ethnic groups
* Women who had gestational diabetes or a baby weighing nine pounds or more at birth

What are the health risks of diabetes?

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and of new cases of blindness among adults. More alarming, two out of three people with diabetes will die from heart disease or stroke.

The good news is that many individuals with diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the complications of this disease with proper treatment and recommended lifestyle changes. Some of the more serious health risks are:

* Glaucoma and cataracts
* Foot problems such as poor blood flow and numbness
* Skin complications such as fungal infections and itching
* Heart disease and stroke
* Anger and depression
* Hearing loss

Contact your physician if you have any of the symptoms of diabetes.

For more health care information, visit the UTU health care page by clicking on the following link: