Recognizing the Signs of Diabetes

Diabetes has become quite common in children and adults.  As a result, there are more and varied treatments including a variety of medications and a great deal of information regarding diet and exercise, which can often help control diabetes with little or no medication.

Diabetes can be quite insidious so it is often present long before a person knows that they have the disease.  There are signs and symptoms that can alert you to the possibility that you might have diabetes and need to check with your doctor. 

Three symptoms are usually classic symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.  The symptoms are frequent urination, increased or excessive thirst and increased appetite.  Sometimes symptoms develop quickly over a period of weeks or months, especially in children and young people.  Another symptom may be weight loss – even if the individual is eating well and eating more than usual.  Excessive fatigue that cannot be overcome can be a symptom, as well.

In Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms can be the same, however, they develop much more slowly and subtly and may not even be noticeable.  This is often a reason that people are not aware that they could be developing or have developed the disease, and do not realize they have diabetes until the disease is more advanced. 

Other issues that can help identify diabetes are dehydration (even though the person is drinking extra liquids), glucose in urine (determined by a urine test), vision changes – especially blurred vision – which can come on gradually (usually with Type 2) or rapidly (usually with Type 1) and should be addressed immediately to avoid permanent damage, and sometimes urea leading to very bad breath, rapid, deep breathing, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

If you or your child/teen are experiencing any of these symptoms or a combination of them, it is important to see your doctor.  There are a few tests that doctors can use to determine what the problem is and if it is diabetes, as opposed to another medical issue or simply an imbalance.  The doctor will then determine how to treat your symptoms, which could include diet changes and/or medication or both.

There have been many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes.  If you are experiencing the symptoms discussed here, it is important for you to talk to your doctor about them so that you can stay healthy and keep your diabetes under control.

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