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Diabetes Type 1 of Type 2?
Early Tell-Tale Signs

Diabetes mellitus is the name given to a group of diseases that are characterized by high blood sugar levels. Early on, it was called “sweet urine” because the excess sugar in the blood spilled over into the urine. This disease was also associated with muscle loss in the ancient world.

In non-diabetics, insulin controls blood sugar levels. This hormone that is produced by the pancreas lowers blood sugar levels. Then blood sugar elevates after a meal, and insulin is released. However, a person who has diabetes experiences either an absence of insulin, or an insufficiency brings on high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. This is a chronic medical condition-it can be controlled, but it can't be cured.

So what happens if the diabetic doesn't do anything to control blood sugar levels? Blindness and kidney failure usually occur as well as nerve damage. It also accelerates the hardening and narrowing of the arteries, called atherosclerosis, which will lead to strokes and coronary heart disease. Approximately 17 million people in the United States are diabetics.

Type 1 Diabetes. This autoimmune disease is believed to be genetic. However, there is some evidence that it is triggered by some viral infections that damage the pancreas. Sometimes called juvenile-onset diabetes, it seems to occur only in young, lean individuals less than 30 years of age although it does occur in older patients, but rarely.

Symptoms include frequent urination and unusual thirst. Also, the Type 1 patient may feel extremely hungry and lose a lot of weight for no reason. In addition, extreme fatigue and irritability characterize this form of diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes. This usually occurs in patients over 30, but the incidence increases with age. However, nowadays, even some teenagers are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It's believed that these cases in very young people are a direct result of poor eating habits, obesity and failure to exercise.

Symptoms include all the ones that signal Type 1 diabetes. In addition, the Type 2 diabetic often experiences frequent infections and blurred vision. If you have cuts or bruises that are slow to heal, you need to ask you doctor about them. The hands and feet also tend to tingle or go numb unpredictably. Frequent skin infections are a signal as are gum or bladder infections.

Physicians typically test for signs of diabetes in the urine and in the blood as a part of a standard physical examination.

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