Sugar Matters
June 4, 2010
How to know if you have diabetes

We received so many interesting questions during our trip home in April, let me tell you again. Among many, which I will try to cover over the rest of this year, was one about actually knowing if you have diabetes or not. I wish I could compose a series of statements all starting with: you know you have diabetes IF_________” but unfortunately there actually isn’t such a list, at least not for type 2 diabetes.{{more}}

The symptoms that many of you know about, including the “funny smell”, urinating a lot, drinking a lot of water and losing weight are more often associated with Type 1 diabetes, which can have quite a dramatic entrance into someone’s life.

So if Type 1 is the drama queen, then Type 2 is more like the quiet sneaky sister because often there are no symptoms that point to a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. It just sort of sneaks up on you most of the time, to be honest. In fact, it is estimated that most people have had abnormal blood sugars for an average of 7 YEARS before they re actually diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. 7 YEARS!!!

It is not that there are NO symptoms at all but rather that the symptoms are not very specific to diabetes, so often people assume something else is going on instead. Some of the more common symptoms that could be caused by undiagnosed type 2 diabetes include:

  • Tiredness (you see the problem with this one— who out there is NOT tired?)
  • Numbness or tingling in the feet and hands
  • Frequent yeast infections in women
  • Urine infections in men or more frequent ones in women
  • Cuts and bruises that take a long time to heal
  • Extra Darkening of the skin in neck and underarm folds (looks a like a dirt smudge)
  • Increased thirst

Be aware that again, many people do not have ANY symptoms for many years, so truly the best way to catch Diabetes early is to be on the lookout for it instead of waiting for it to announce its presence, because by then it has been hanging around for quite some time. Next week I will review again the groups that are high risk for diabetes, so that you can take the initiative and ask your doctor to have you checked earlier than you may otherwise. No one wants to hear bad news, and having diabetes is not good news, but an earlier diagnosis is better than a later one. You can totally change the course of the disease if it is caught early.

Until next week, stay safe and healthy, Vincies!

Anita Ramsetty, MD [email protected]
Medical Director Endocrine Care Group
Tel: 843-798-4227