Diabetes is divided into two categories: type 1 (autoimmune destruction of insulin-producing cells) and type 2 (resistance to the body’s own insulin). Over 90% of adult diabetics have type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity (especially abdominal fat), family history of diabetes, physical inactivity, and high birth weight. Type 1 diabetes is largely a genetic disease of the young and is unusual after the early 20s. Often diabetics have no symptoms but excessive thirst, excessive hunger, high urine output and blurry vision can occur. Fatigue, weight loss, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain can occur in type 1 diabetes. These symptoms can be mild and go undetected so it is important to have regular check-ups that include a standard blood panel. If elevated levels of blood glucose are detected, your doctor may choose to check your blood glucose periodically or do further testing to come up with a formal diagnosis.
How do I know if I have diabetes?
Commonly, patients do not know they have diabetes until their high blood sugar is picked up on a routine blood test. If symptoms do develop, they can include unexplained weight loss, frequent urination, and excessive thirst.
If my diabetes symptoms are not bothersome, why do I need to manage my condition?
Diabetes is very controllable but it needs to be treated early and treated aggressively before complications develop. Complications of diabetes are devastating. Patients with uncontrolled diabetes have two to four-times greater risk for heart attack and also have increased risk for stroke, and peripheral arterial disease. Diabetes can also lead to problems with the kidneys and eyes and can also damage nerves.