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Dear doctor, I'm worried I might have diabetes, can you tell me more about the condition?

18 September 2018

My friend was just diagnosed with diabetes and I worry I might have it too. Can you tell me more about the condition?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes someone’s blood sugar to become raised.

There are two main types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 diabetes: the cells that produce insulin get attacked and destroyed by the body’s immune system
  • Type 2 Diabetes: the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, or the cells don’t react to the insulin. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2

During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is known as gestational diabetes.

Many more people have blood sugar levels above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes. This is sometimes known as pre-diabetes. If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased.

It's very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible as it will get progressively worse if left untreated.

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days. Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general.

Visit your GP as soon as possible if you experience one or more of the main symptoms of diabetes:

  • feeling very thirsty
  • urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night 
  • feeling very tired 
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk 
  • itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • cuts or wounds that heal slowly 
  • blurred vision 

Find out more about Dr Zaid Hirmiz, private GP practising at Spire Portsmouth Hospital.

 

The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other health care professional.

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