Diabetes Symptoms & Complications
Diabetes is sometimes discovered by accident in people who have no symptoms. About 40 percent of type 2 diabetics have no symptoms of their condition.
Some people with diabetes have a variety of symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Extreme hunger
- Dry skin
- Weakness/feeling tired much of the time
- Recurring or slow-healing infections
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Tingling in the hands or feet
Research has shown that the complications associated with type 2 diabetes often begin to develop well before the disease is diagnosed. Fifty per cent of people found to have type 2 diabetes are already suffering from complications.
Long-term complications of diabetes are more common in people who have poor blood sugar control. The best way to prevent these complications is to maintain tight control over blood sugar levels. It is also important to have annual eye examinations, foot examinations as well as kidney function tests.
Long-term complications include:
- Cardiovascular disease -- a major complication and the
leading cause of premature death among people with diabetes ( about 75 percent
of people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke). Middle-aged adults
with type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease
than adults without diabetes.
- Kidney disease -- diabetes is a leading cause of renal
nephrophathy, which can lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD). This is a serious
condition which may result in the need for dialysis or kidney transplantation.
- Blindness -- diabetes is a major cause of blindness in
the U.S., and is the leading cause of new blindness in working-aged Americans.
Diabetic retinopathy alone accounts for at least 12 percent of new cases of
blindness each year in the U.S. People with diabetes are 25 times more at risk
for blindness than the general population.
- Nervous system disease -- around 60 to 70 percent of diabetics
have some type of nervous system damage or neuropathy, which includes decreased
sensation in feet or hands, slowed digestion in the stomach, or carpal tunnel
syndrome. Damage to the nerves can ultimately lead to ulceration and amputation
of the feet and lower leg.
- Dental disease -- periodontal or gum diseases are more common among people with diabetes than those without diabetes. Almost one third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal diseases with loss of attachment of the gums to the teeth measuring 5 millimeters or more.