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What are Some Signs of Diabetes?

Patients with Type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin to regulate their blood sugar levels.
A person with severe hypoglycemia has a blood sugar level that drops below 50.
Diabetics can use portable blood testing devices to monitor their glucose levels.
Many physicians advise regular diabetes screenings for people over the age of 45.
Gestational diabetes might not present with any symptoms.
Individuals who suspect that they are exhibiting signs of diabetes should discuss the issue with their physician as soon as possible.
If left untreated, diabetic shock could lead to a coma or a loss of life.
Regularly drinking sugary drinks can lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes.
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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2014
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Learning to recognize the signs of diabetes can help people catch the condition early, before it causes damage to the body. Many doctors recommend routine diabetes screenings for all people over 45 years of age, and people who suspect that they may have the signs of diabetes should talk it over with their doctors. Testing for diabetes is not very expensive, and well worth it if the disease can be caught early.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease which has been recognized for thousands of years. People with diabetes cannot break down glucose, meaning that their cells become starved for energy, because the glucose that the cells need passes through the body rather than being utilized. Glucose metabolism requires insulin, a substance which the body normally produces on its own. In people with diabetes, there is a problem with insulin production.

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There are three types of diabetes: Type I diabetes, also called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes; Type II diabetes, also called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes; and gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes which affects pregnant women. Type I is the most severe, caused by a malfunction in the immune system which causes the body to attack the cells which produce insulin, and it most commonly appears in children, although people of all ages can get it. Type II diabetes is characterized by a reduced insulin production, or by insulin resistance, meaning that the body produces the right amount of insulin, but the insulin is not effective. Gestational diabetes is linked with pregnancy, and it can put the baby at risk.

The signs of diabetes are very similar for both Type I and Type II. Patients usually get extremely thirsty, and urinate frequently, especially at night. Fatigue, lethargy, or stupor are common, and some patients even fall into a diabetic coma, a critical condition caused by a buildup of ketones in the blood or by severe hypoglycemia. Neurological changes like numbness, tingling, and vision changes can also occur, along with increased appetite and weight loss. Sweet, fruity breath is one of the hallmarks of diabetes, as is the presence of sugars in the urine. In fact, sweet urine has been described in numerous ancient medical tests, and it is one of the oldest diagnostic criteria for diabetes.

People with Type II diabetes can also develop some other symptoms. In people with insulin resistance, dark patches can develop on the skin. Signs of diabetes Type II can also include very slow-healing wounds and chronic yeast infections, caused by an abundance of yeasts feeding on the sugars that the body is not using.

Signs of diabetes can also be found in the patient's blood. Fasting tests, in which someone refrains from eating for several hours before a blood test, can be used to check levels of glucose in the blood to indicate diabetes. This test is also used in the diagnosis of diabetes. Sometimes, the test reveals pre-diabetes, which means that the patient is at risk of developing diabetes unless lifestyle changes are made.

Gestational diabetes often manifests with no symptoms. Pregnant women are diagnosed with this condition when they take a fasting glucose test, a test which is strongly recommended. The causes of gestational diabetes are not fully understood, so pregnant women should not feel like they have failed in some way if they are diagnosed. A number of techniques can be used to manage gestational diabetes, and the condition usually clears up after the birth.

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surfNturf
Post 4

@GreenWeaver - I heard that too. I wanted to say that another risk factor of diabetes is excessive belly fat. In fact, my doctor told me that I needed to lose weight because the circumference from my waist was above 35 inches.

He said that slow weight loss was the key and if I lost 10% of my body weight it would dramatically lower my odds of developing diabetes.

I know that my father in law was told that he was pre-diabetic and he lost weight and never had a problem with his blood sugar again. I know that untreated diabetes can also lead to heart disease as well as other complications which are the reasons why I am really motivated to lose weight. Sometimes fear can be a great motivator.

GreenWeaver
Post 3

@Comfyshoes - That is true and while diabetes is a chronic illness it is something that can be controlled. Controlling the environment in the school also helps these kids because it makes it easier for them to control their condition.

I also know that diabetes can run in families so if you start to develop warning signs of diabetes like unquenchable thirst and frequent urination you should definitely go to a doctor and have yourself checked out.

I remember that when I was pregnant, they did a gestational diabetes test in which I had to fast for twelve hours and then next morning, I had to drink a really sugary orange soda. They later checked my blood sugar over the next half hour to see if I had gestational diabetes. It turned out that I did not have gestational diabetes, but women that develop this condition usually have a hereditary component.

The good thing about this condition is that at least this condition ends when the pregnancy ends. They do say that women that develop gestational diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes later on in their life.

comfyshoes
Post 2

@Moldova - Wow that is drastic. I used to question policies like this and thought that they were unfair to the rest of the children that did not have this problem until a little boy in my kid’s school was given a peanut laced cracker that sent him to the emergency room and the little boy almost died.

It was an innocent thing because the other child did not understand what the harm would be in eating the cracker and now the school bans all peanut products from the school. People with this type of allergy cannot even be in the same room with any peanuts.

It is really severe, so I can understand that the school was trying to protect these students. I also think that kids with diabetes should be protected and a policy of not allowing children to share food is important because the lunches were prepared by the parents who know what their children can and cannot eat.

Moldova
Post 1

I know that the early signs of diabetes are increased thirst and urination. I had a friend that is diabetic and she said that the constant urge to urinate is what prompted her to go to the doctor because she knew that these were warning signs of diabetes.

Her daughter also has diabetes which is more severe than hers. Her daughter developed juvenile diabetes as a toddler and has always had to stay away from all types of sugary foods. She also had to have her blood sugar monitored daily.

This little girl was in my daughter’s classroom and when their was a celebration, I always bought sugar free desserts so that she would not feel left out when the other kids had cupcakes.

I think that it is hard for a kid to avoid sweets. As a matter of fact, this same girl later accepted a cookie from a teacher’s aide in summer camp. The aide did not know that she was diabetic and the school then instituted a no food policy in the school.

Children were not allowed to share their lunches and the school parties could not have any food. The only exception was for a child’s birthday and the cupcakes had to be bought from a store.

Diabetes is a serious condition that many people live with all their lives, but the school wanted to make sure that an incident like this would not happen again.

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