Diabetes Information

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Knowing the signs and symptoms of diabetes will help you to identify possible diabetes earlier. There are 2 main types of diabetes—type 1 and type 2.

For type 1 diabetes, the signs and symptoms may appear suddenly without any warning. It’s important not to ignore these signs as it could lead to a serious life-threatening situation.

Seek medical attention as soon as possible if you suspect type 1 diabetes.

On the other hand, many people who have type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms at all.

Recognize the signs

The most common signs and symptoms of diabetes can include the following:

  • unusual thirst
  • frequent urination
  • weight change (gain or loss)
  • extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • blurred vision
  • frequent or recurring infections
  • cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • trouble getting or maintaining an erection

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your health-care provider right away. If you don’t have symptoms but are over the age of 40, you should still get checked.

The underlying cause of diabetes varies by type. But, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems.

Treating Diabetes

The lives of people with diabetes have changed considerably in 50 years. They now have specific tools and easier access to information than ever before. The healthcare professionals who treat them also know more about the complexity of the disease, and which treatments work best.

Pending the next medical revolution, Diabetes Québec is demanding the implementation of a national strategy to fight diabetes – a strategy founded on education, prevention, support and treatment. The last 60 years have clearly demonstrated that people with diabetes who are well informed, properly supported and treated appropriately live longer lives in better health.

The discovery of insulin and glycemic control

Insulin, discovered in 1921 by the legendary Banting, Best and MacLeod collaboration, is nothing short of a miracle. Worldwide, it has saved thousands of patients from certain death.

Before the discovery of insulin, diabetics were doomed. Even on a strict diet, they could last no more than three or four years.

However, despite the many types of insulin and the first oral hypoglycemic agents that came to market around 1957 in Canada, glycemia control – the control of blood glucose (sugar) levels – still remains an imprecise science.

In the 1950s, the method a person used to control his blood glucose levels was to drop a reagent tablet into a small test tube containing a few drops of urine mixed with water. The resulting color – from dark blue to orange – indicated the amount of sugar in the urine.

Even when they monitored their patients closely, doctors realized that blood glucose levels had to be much better controlled in order to delay the major complications significantly affecting their patients’ lives: blindness, kidney disease, gangrene, heart attack, and stroke.


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