Diabetes Symptoms

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Diabetes Symptoms

Symptoms of Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, the United States is home to over 20 million children and adults with diabetes. They estimate that about a third of them are unaware that they even have the disease. That's over 6 million undiagnosed cases of diabetes.

The trouble with diagnosing diabetes is that the symptoms often begin gradually. People with type 2 diabetes average four to seven years before they are diagnosed. Sometimes a doctor can make a diagnosis based on complications from diabetes rather than the diabetes symptoms themselves. For example, vision changes, sores that won't heal, heart disease and numbness in the feet and legs often prompt a doctor to suspect diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition where insulin is not produced (or insulin is not recognized by the cells) and the body is unable to break down the glucose in the blood properly. The body's response to excess glucose in the blood is to get rid of it through urination. Frequent urination with large volumes of urine is one of the classic symptoms of diabetes along with excessive thirst, hunger and weight loss. Despite an increased intake of water, dehydration can also occur.

When excess glucose builds up in the blood, the cells can become starved for energy because instead of the glucose traveling to the cells, they remain in the blood. Starving cells translates into a fatigued body as well as a hungry body.

Despite an increased appetite, weight loss occurs because the cells are not receiving the nutrition they require and the glucose, along with its calories, is being washed away with the urine rather than being absorbed by the body.

Other signs of diabetes can include blurry vision, dry mouth, dry or itchy skin, male impotence, vaginal yeast infections, unexplained aches and pains, urinary tract infections, sores that don't heal very well, excessive infections and genital itching.

Over time, eyes, kidneys, nerves and the heart can become damaged due to high glucose levels in the blood.

Type 1 diabetes tends to come on rapidly with the classic symptoms of frequent urination, excessive thirst and fatigue while type 2 diabetes comes on more slowly, often over a course of years. This has prompted the medical community to recommend routine testing for people over 45 years old.

Risk assessments for diabetes can be found online to determine the risk for getting diabetes. Factors that are considered are age, weight, family members with diabetes and the birth size of babies born to women.

Whether symptoms are present or not, it doesn't hurt to pay a yearly visit to the doctor.


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