In simple terms, diabetes refers to a condition that develops when the body is unable to process the glucose (sugar) from food effectively subsequently resulting in above normal (high) levels of sugar in the blood. If left unmanaged, persistent high blood sugar levels can have serious health consequences leading to heart disease, significant nerve damage, poor blood circulation in the feet, vision (eye) -related complications, and kidney disease.
In people without diabetes, a hormone called insulin (secreted by an organ called pancreas) works efficiently to transport the glucose from the food to body cells to be used as energy for the body. In people with diabetes however, this mechanism gets disrupted and the body is unable to use the glucose effectively as a result of a complete lack of or less than adequate levels of insulin. This causes glucose (sugar) to build up in the blood stream leading to high blood glucose.
Common diabetes symptoms:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- Sores that do not heal
- Unexplained weight loss
These symptoms can start quickly, in a matter of weeks or develop slowly—over the course of several years. Often these symptoms can be so mild that they go unnoticed by patients.