What are the symptoms of Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetics may never have symptoms before they are diagnosed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), of the 30.3 million Americans with diabetes,7.2 million remain undiagnosed. “Undiagnosed or untreated diabetes could exist in individuals who haven’t undergone regular screening for high blood sugars
- However, common symptoms of diabetes include
- Being very thirsty
- Urinating often
- Feeling very hungry
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying
- Sores that heal slowly
- Dry, itchy skin
- Feelings of pins and needles in your feet
- Losing feeling in your feet
- Blurry eyesight
How are Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes different?
The term diabetes refers to the body’s inability to process glucose in the bloodstream. Once referred to as “Juvenile Diabetes”, Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where a healthy immune system inexplicably attacks the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Eventually, the cells will die completely, and the person is left reliant on insulin injections or infusions for the rest of their life.
Once referred to as “Adult Onset Diabetes”, Type 2 Diabetics still produce insulin, but either the body does not produce enough to counteract the amount of glucose in the blood, or the body is resistant to the insulin it produces.
While diet and exercise can greatly affect whether a person is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, there is no way for Type 1 diabetes to be prevented or cured.
How is Diabetes Treated?
Maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle is important for all diabetics and many diabetics of both types will require insulin injections or infusions to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Both types of diabetics will be required to monitor their blood sugar levels throughout the day. However, advances in medicine have allowed Type 2 diabetics access to non-insulin medications that help their bodies become less resistant to the insulin they produce where Type 1 diabetics are reliant on insulin injections for life.
Does a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes mean I will have to go on insulin?
No. People with type 2 diabetes may or may not ever need to take insulin injections, depending on several factors, including the timing of diagnosis. Research indicates that if type 2 diabetes is treated early and blood sugar is controlled initially and over the years, the pancreas is more likely to produce enough insulin longer. But a person who lives with type 2 upward of 15 years is unlikely to continue to make sufficient insulin and will need to take it via syringe, pen, or pump.
I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Do I need to see an endocrinologist?
There are only 3,000 Endocrinologist in the U.S. who treat diabetes and 25 million people have diabetes; there are not nearly enough endocrinologists. Most of the times Type 2 Diabetics can be easily managed by your primary care doctors. Type 1 diabetics are very labile, which means their blood glucose levels vary sharply and suddenly, needing Endocrinologist to be involved early in the care. Make sure your doctor keeps up-to-date and provides you with care in sync with current guidelines. Be active in your care and ask questions.