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Diabetes: Symptoms, Risk Factors
and Treatment

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke and even the need to remove a limb. Pregnant women can also get diabetes, called gestational diabetes.


Diabetics usually show the following signs and symptoms, but those with type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms at all:

  • excessive thirst
  • dry mouth
  • frequent urination
  • re-occurring infections, especially yeast
  • unusual weight loss
  • blurred vision
  • slow-healing wounds
  • tingling hands, arms and feet
  • weakness or fatigue

Who is at risk?

No-one is immune to diabetes, but the following conditions lead to increased risk:

  • obesity
  • high blood pressure
  • if you're over the age of 35
  • family history of diabetes
  • high cholesterol


A blood test can show if you have diabetes. Exercise, weight control and sticking to your meal plan can help control your diabetes. You should also monitor your glucose level and take medicine if prescribed.

If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your life.

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