Diabetes is an endocrine disorder in which the body doesn't make enough (or any) insulin to break down sugars in the blood or in which the body becomes less reactive to sugar levels in the blood.
Not all patients notice signs and symptoms before being diagnosed with diabetes but those who do, report the following symptoms (which generally apply for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes):
Proper management of diabetes is critical in decreasing risk of complications. Long-term complications include heart disease, nerve damage, foot/toe amputations, blindness, hearing impairment, kidney damage, and Alzheimer’s disease.
In very severe cases, diabetics can develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening emergency related to high blood sugar. DKA requires emergency intervention.
Successful diabetes treatment always requires physician involvement. The treatment of diabetes is dependent on a comprehensive diabetes treatment plan, which includes close monitoring of blood sugar levels, medications (especially insulin), diet, exercise, and periodic evaluation from a team of specialists. The diabetic’s care team might include their primary care practitioner, a podiatrist (foot doctor), nutritionist, endocrinologist, and eye doctor.
Those with a family history of diabetes, exposure to certain viral illnesses, autoantibodies in their blood, live in Sweden or Finland, or exposure to cereals before four months of age or cow’s milk at an early age are at highest risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
Those at highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes are those who:
There is no cure for type 1 diabetes, but patients with type 2 diabetes can often overcome it with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.