Ask Your Doctor: DO YOU HAVE TYPE 2 DIABETES MELLITUS?
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Diabetes mellitus is a very common disorder in Anguilla and, unfortunately, many individuals do not know that they have this condition. Early diagnosis and proper management of this condition can prevent many of the complications that affect many Anguilians today.
Types of diabetes
The most common form of diabetes in Anguilla is type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is more common in children, while gestational diabetes occurs in pregnant women.
A person with type 2 diabetes has insulin resistance, meaning their pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the body does not react properly to insulin.
Insulin is used by the body to manage glucose, or sugar, levels in the blood and to convert glucose into energy.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
In its earliest stages, individuals with type 2 diabetes often do not have any symptoms. When symptoms do occur, one of the first is that of being thirsty a lot. Others include the following:
• Increased hunger (especially after eating).
• Dry mouth.
• Frequent urination.
• Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry).
• Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
• Blurred vision.
In some individuals, the diagnosis is not made until very late – and some red flags that can lead to the diagnosis of type2 diabetes include the following:
• Cuts and sores that heal very slowly
• Frequent urinary tract infections
• Frequent yeast infections especially in women
• Itchy skin, especially in the groin area
• Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
• Decreased vision
• Sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction in men
You should see your doctor if you have any type 2 diabetes symptoms or if you have further questions about type 2 diabetes. It is important to get diabetes testing and start a treatment plan early to prevent serious diabetes complications.
Who gets type 2 diabetes?
Anyone can get type 2 diabetes. However, those at highest risk of the disease are those who are obese or overweight, women who have had gestational diabetes, people with family members who have type 2 diabetes and people who have metabolic syndrome (a cluster of problems that include high cholesterol, high triglycerides, low good “HDL” cholesterol and a high bad “LDL” cholesterol and high blood pressure). In addition, older people are more susceptible to developing the disease since ageing makes the body less tolerant of sugars.
It is estimated that one in 3 persons have type 2 diabetes and do not know they have the condition. In some cases, there are no symptoms, while in others individuals ignore symptoms and warning signs and fail to get blood sugar testing at regular intervals. Early diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes can help prevent serious complications like kidney failure, heart attacks, stokes, blindness and amputation to name a few. If you have symptoms suggestive of type 2 diabetes, see your doctor for a medical check-up.
Ask Your Doctor is a health education column and is not a substitute for medical advice from your physician. The reader should consult his or her physician for specific information concerning specific medical conditions. While all reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that all information presented is accurate, as research and development in the medical field are ongoing, it is possible that new findings may supersede some data presented.
Dr Brett Hodge MB BS DGO MRCOG, is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist and Family Doctor who has over thirty-two years in clinical practice. Dr Hodge has a medical practice in The Johnson Building in The Valley (Tel: 264 4975828).