Diabetes Mellitus - Symptoms

The classic symptoms of diabetes include being overly tired and sick, having to urinate frequently, feeling very thirsty and hungry, and losing weight. The way these symptoms develop differs for Type I and Type II diabetes. In Type I diabetes, they usually show up slowly in children or adolescents over a period of a few days or weeks. In Type II diabetes, they develop even more slowly, over a period of years, in adults over the age of forty. Adults often do not realize they have diabetes mellitus. The condition may be discovered only during a routine physical examination for some other problem.

Type I diabetes is generally a more serious condition than Type II. The most dangerous effect of Type I diabetes is a condition known as ketoacidosis (pronounced KEE-toe-ASS-ih-doe-sus), which occurs when Type I diabetes is not controlled. In ketoacidosis, chemicals that are toxic (poisonous) to the body begin to collect in the blood. These chemicals can cause abdominal pain, vomiting, rapid breathing, extreme tiredness, and drowsiness. If this condition is not treated, a person may fall into a coma and die. The most characteristic symptom of ketoacidosis is sweet-smelling breath.

The symptoms of Type II diabetes usually develop more slowly and are less serious. In the worst circumstance, they include heart disease, infections of the gums and urinary tract, blurred vision, numbness in the feet and legs, and slow-healing wounds.

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