It is important that everyone should know the usual symptoms of diabetes mellitus so that should one observe any of them, one should appropriately seek medical attention. This prevents the person presenting to the hospital emergency room with diabetic crises. The top 10 symptoms of diabetes mellitus are :
- passage of frequent, large amount of urine per day.
- Excessive drinking of water arising from excessive feeling of thirst.
Feeling of tiredness and general body weakness
Excessive feeling of hunger and increased appetite
Unexplained weight loss despite good appetite and excessive eating of food.
Passage of urine that is very sugary in taste
Having foot or leg ulcer that is finding it difficult to heal.
Blurring of vision or deteriorating eyes sight. Because of this, a significant number of people are diagnosed diabetic by the eye doctors.
In women, vaginal discharge and itching could be the initial symptoms noticed while in men, the presenting symptom could be poor erection or impotence.
Finally, diabetes mellitus could present, for the first time, with an acute or chronic complication of diabetes mellitus such as unconsciousness, stroke, heart attack, abnormal sensations in the feet/legs etc.
When one or a combination of these symptoms are noted in an individual, it’s wise to seek medical attention. Delays can be dangerous……..
- Deciding to do regular routine medical check up even when one is apparently “well” is a choice.
Deciding to visit the hospital when a diagnosis of diabetes mellitus is made and not to a herbal home, church /ministry, spiritual center or stay at home is a choice.
Deciding which hospital to patronize – private, government-owned, primary or tertiary health facility is a choice.
Deciding which antidiabetic medications a doctor should give to a person living with diabetes – whether oral antidiabetic drugs, insulin or other injectable agent is a choice.
Deciding to key into certain lifestyle changes as regards ones diets, engaging in moderate intensity aerobic exercise, stopping tobacco smoking and alcohol drinking and avoiding much sugar rich beverages is a choice.
Deciding to adhere to clinic follow ups, taking of prescribed medications religiously and self monitoring of ones blood glucose is a choice.
Finally, accepting decisions of the managing medical team including accepting lower limb amputation of a gangrenous leg or not is a choice.
In life, it’s all about making choices. Every minute, hour, day, month and year, we are making choices whose outcome could be good or bad.
Soon, I will share my story of a (not too good) choice made in our MEDICAL WARD!!
Factors that increase ones chances or risks of suffering diabetes mellitus in the future include family history of diabetes, being overweight or obese, indulging in sedentary lifestyle, eating food rich in sugar, having hypertension, not exercising and (for a woman) delivering a baby weighing more than 4kg. One may have one or more of these risk factors and still not develop diabetes. There are three known facts in people that develop diabetes.
Firstly, the beta cells of the person’s pancreas produce insufficient insulin or produce no insulin at all. This could be from autoimmune diseases, drugs, infections, injuries, tumours etc causing damage to the pancreas. The resultant effect is absolute or relative insulin deficiency, and therefore diabetes mellitus.
The second known fact why someone may develop diabetes mellitus is failure of the target cells to respond as it should to insulin. The main target organs where insulin act include skeletal muscles, liver and fat cells. In this group of people, their pancreas produce adequate amount of insulin but the target cells are non responsive to the insulin. This is called insulin resistance and it’s a known fact causing diabetes mellitus.
Finally, degenerative changes involving the pancreas as a result of ageing or disease conditions is known to cause diabetes mellitus. It is known that with repeated injuries, insults, infections, inflammation etc to the pancreas over time, the beta cells of the pancreas will begin to function below expectations. One developing diabetes mellitus after 80 years of age could just be part of the ageing process involving all organs of the body.
However, diabetes mellitus is not due to demons, spiritual attacks, poison from enemies or due to any curse
With this knowledge, you are in a good position to educate the rest of us who still have lots of superstitions about diabetes mellitus.