Dear Nurse Felicia,
I’ve noticed that lately I’m feeling hungry and especially thirsty almost all the time. I eat and drink a lot but I seem to be losing weight no matter what I do. A friend suggested that these might be symptoms of diabetes. Is this true? What should I do about it?
While these symptoms might well be related to other causes, your friend is right, they do present a pattern that could be indicative of type II diabetes (formerly know as adult-onset diabetes). Additional symptoms may include:
• Increased thirst
• 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
• Loss of consciousness (rare)
Because these symptoms often appear gradually or very late in the disease process, many people are not diagnosed until serious health complications occur.
In fact, as many as a third of people with type II diabetes may be unaware that they have the disease. So if you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should see your doctor immediately.
Studies have shown that even pre-diabetes can increase your chances of heart disease and other complications as much as diabetes itself.
The good news is that early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent many of these complications. If you are in fact diabetic, your doctor can help you develop an appropriate treatment plan which may involve insulin or other medications, and dietary changes. Good luck.