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Diabetes: Types & Symptoms

Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood glucose levels that come from the body's inability to produce or use insulin. There are three different types of diabetes and a host of symptoms associated with the illness.

Types of Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are three different types of diabetes:

  • Type 1 — previously referred to as juvenile diabetes — is frequently found in children and young adults, and accounts for 5-10 percent of diabetes cases. In this type, the body is unable to produce insulin.
  • Type 2 — the most common form of the disease affecting millions of Americans — occurs when the body does not use its insulin effectively. It occurs most often in adulthood and is linked to high obesity rates. There are increasing numbers of children and adolescents developing type 2 diabetes today.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in women during pregnancy. This often improves after delivery, but many women will develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

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Diabetes Symptoms

Because many diabetes symptoms can be subtle, many cases go undiagnosed, but early detection of these symptoms can lead to prompt diagnosis:

  • Blurry vision
  • Excess thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Urinating often
  • Weight loss

Untreated or poorly controlled diabetes increases the risk of complications including:

  • Developing problems with vision, possible blindness
  • Skin and feet ulcers
  • Nerve damage, especially in the feet
  • Kidney disease

"Some people with type 2 diabetes may not have symptoms, making screening all the more important," says Dr. Barbara Simon, chief of the Division of Endocrinology at Drexel.

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.

 
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