Frequently Asked Questions About Diabetes
What Are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
The symptoms of diabetes
may begin gradually and can be hard to identify at first. They may include
fatigue, a sick feeling, frequent urination, especially at night, and excessive
thirst. When there is extra sugar in blood, one way the body gets rid of it is
through frequent urination. This loss of fluids causes extreme thirst. Other
symptoms may include sudden weight loss, blurred vision, and slow healing of
skin, gum, and urinary tract infections. Women may notice genital
A doctor also may suspect
a patient has diabetes if the person has health problems related to diabetes.
For instance, heart disease, changes in vision, numbness in the feet and legs,
or sores that are slow to heal, may prompt a doctor to check for diabetes.
These symptoms do not mean a person has diabetes, but anyone who has these
problems should see a doctor.
Points to Remember
The symptoms of diabetes can develop
gradually and may be hard to identify at first.
Symptoms may include feeling tired or
ill, excessive thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight loss, blurred vision,
slow healing of infections, and genital itching.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
There is no simple answer
to what causes type 2 diabetes. While eating sugar, for example, doesn't
cause diabetes, eating large amounts of sugar and other rich, fatty foods, can
cause weight gain. Most people who develop diabetes are overweight. Scientists
do not fully understand why obesity increases someone's chances of developing
diabetes, but they believe obesity is a major factor leading to type
2 diabetes. Current research should help explain why the disorder occurs
and why obesity is such an important risk factor.
A major cause of diabetes
is insulin resistance. Scientists are still searching for the causes of insulin
resistance, but they have identified two possibilities. The first could be a
defect in insulin receptors on cells. Like an appliance that needs to be
plugged into an electrical outlet, insulin has to bind to a receptor to
function. Several things can go wrong with receptors. There may not be enough
receptors for insulin to bind to, or a defect in the receptors may prevent
insulin from binding.
A second possible cause
involves the process that occurs after insulin plugs into the receptor. Insulin
may bind to the receptor, but the cells don't read the signal to metabolize the
sugar. Scientists are studying cells to see why this might happen.
Points to Remember
In people with type 2 diabetes,
insulin doesn't lower blood sugar, a condition called insulin
Obesity is a risk factor for