Have I got Diabetes?

The main signs and symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes is a growing problem in a world with ever growing waist-lines. Type 2 diabetes is an acquired disease of late/middle age, but recently it is more and more being associated with the younger generations. 

Recognising the signs and symptoms of diabetes is key to early and easier management and essential in preventing some of the worst side effects, such as leg ulcers and ultimately amputation. 

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a multifactorial diseases, meaning there are many risk factors that can predispose you to the condition. The main risk factor includes obesity, defined as BMI> 30. Some of the other risk factors are associated with diabetes, for example a low level of physical activity and an unhealthy high fat diet. 

Your chance of having diabetes mellitus is also raised if you have a family history of diabetes, or having previously had gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy). There are other diseases/conditions which also raise your risk, including metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary disease. Certain types of drug treatments, or combined drug treatments can increase the risk of developing diabetes so check with your physician or doctor, or they may have told you already when prescribing the medication. 

Incidences of diabetes can be influenced by race. Coming from South Asian, African, Afro-Caribbean, Polynesian, American-Indian and Middle Eastern countries increases your chance of developing diabetes. 

One of the symptoms many people with diabetes present with is increased frequency of micturition, or an increased need to use the bathroom to urinate. This is often paired with an increase in volume of liquid drunk in a day, and an increase in thirst levels. This is caused by an increased level of glucose in your blood, so more passes into your kidneys. This happens normally and the body has methods of removing the glucose and bringing it back into your body, but in diabetes the level of glucose is so high that they cannot remove all glucose. The consequence of this is glucose changes the concentration of urine and draws water out of the body and into urine, causing increased water loss as urine. 

Many people often find they feel a lot more tired than usual, or lethargic. Another of the 4 most common symptoms is weight loss. This is unexplained weight loss, not associated with a change in diet, or lifestyle.

These symptoms tend to be chronic and often patients will become used to the tiredness, and increased thirst and bathroom use, and so do not present for a long time. This means other symptoms may be present too, such as an increase in the number of infections, or the presence of infections which take a longer time to heal that usual, which is associated with having a higher level of blood sugar. 

If you have found you have these symptoms and have one or more of the risk factors contact your physician and they can easily test you for diabetes - diagnosis and management of diabetes is highly important in preventing serious and harmful side effects and maintaining health. It's better to be safe than sorry!!