Diabetes Signs and Symptoms

About Diabetes.
Diabetes is a lifetime disease caused by an inability of your pancreas to make enough insulin or use it properly. Your body needs insulin to help glucose - a form of sugar your body uses for energy - to enter cells. Your body makes glucose from the food you eat. When people have diabetes, glucose in the bloodstream reaches above-normal levels and must be controlled.

There are two main types of diabetes:

Type 1 diabetes usually occurs during childhood or adolescence. It results from the body's failure to produce insulin - a hormone that allows body cells to use glucose for energy. People with type 1 diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay alive.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. Often type 2 diabetes can be controlled through losing weight, improved nutrition and exercise alone, but many people may need oral medications and/or insulin to control their diabetes.

Type 1 Symptoms.
The onset of insulin-dependent (type 1) is usually dramatic and impossible to ignore. Symptoms:

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme, constant hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea, vomiting/stomach pains
  • Blurred vision
  • Irritability

Type 2 Symptoms.
The signs of type 2 diabetes are often subtle. Symptoms are:

  • Any of the symptoms listed for type1 diabetes
  • Cuts/bruises that heal slowly.
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Recurring infections of the skin, gums or bladder.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about a diabetes test.

Those At Risk For Diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends diabetes screening for those who have a high risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • People with a family history of diabetes. Having a parent, brother or sister with type 2 diabetes increases your risk.
  • People from certain ethnic groups. Type 2 diabetes is more prevalent among African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans.
  • People who are overweight. A person who is 20 percent overweight is twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes as a person of normal weight.
  • People over 45. Type 2 diabetes frequently develops later in life.
  • Women who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy.

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