Living with diabetes mellitus

Symptoms of untreated diabetes mellitus
The Living with diabetes mellitus - As the level of glucose in the blood rises, the volume of urine required to carry it out of the body is increased, causing not only a frequent need to urinate but also constant thirst.

The high levels of sugar in the blood and urine impair the body’s ability to fight infection, leading to urinary tract infections (such as cystitis and pyelonephritis), vaginal yeast infections (candidiasis), and recurrent skin infections. Because the body’s cells are starved of glucose, the sufferer feels weak and fatigued (see right).


The cells are able to obtain some energy from the breakdown of stored fat, resulting in weight loss. The chemical processes involved in this breakdown of fat are, however, defective, especially in insulindependent diabetics. They lead to the production of acids and substances known as ketones, which can cause coma and sometimes death.

Other possible symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes include blurred vision, boils, increased appetite, and tingling and numbness in the hands and the feet. Symptoms will develop in every untreated person who has insulindependent (Type 1) diabetes, but will appear in only one third of those who have the noninsulindependent form (Type 2).

There are many people with Type 2 diabetes who are unaware of it. The disease is often diagnosed only after complications of the diabetes have been detected.


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