Symptoms and Complications of Diabetes
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: You or someone you know may have been diagnosed with diabetes. This video will show you what it is and why it's important to keep it under control. People can have different symptoms with diabetes. Common symptoms include feeling very hungry, feeling very thirsty, urinating often, fatigue, blurry vision, and slow healing of wounds. People with type 1 diabetes may also experience weight loss. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes usually develop suddenly. They may make a person feel very ill. On the other hand, symptoms of type 2 diabetes usually develop slowly. They may be mild enough so they are hard to notice. Some people have no symptoms. If your high blood sugar level isn't treated, life-threatening complications can result. For example, you can become severely ill with a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. It's more common in people with type 1 diabetes. Here's how it happens. Because you have little or no insulin in your blood, your cells can't get the sugar they need for energy. As a result, your body turns to fats and proteins for energy. As your body breaks down the fats, certain substances, known as ketone bodies, build up in your blood. This results in a condition called ketosis. If ketones build up to dangerously high levels in your blood, you may develop diabetic ketoacidosis, or DKA. This may result in coma or death. If your blood sugar level drops too low, you may experience a serious complication of diabetes called hypoglycemia. A common way this can happen is by taking too much diabetic medication or not eating. Too much insulin or oral diabetic medication can cause too much sugar to go into your cells. Then your blood sugar level drops down too low. Certain organs, such as the brain, need a constant energy supply to work properly. Because the brain's main source of energy is sugar, it's the first organ affected by lower sugar levels. When your brain cells, called neurons, don't get enough sugar, they start to malfunction. Symptoms such as nervousness, shakiness, and confusion can result. If your blood sugar keeps dropping, your brain does not have enough energy to work properly. This can result in seizures or diabetic coma. If your blood sugar level remains high over time, long-term health problems can occur. They include heart and blood vessel disease, stroke, blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease, and amputation of a foot or leg. If you have questions about diabetes or the medications for it, speak with your doctor. It is important to take your medications as directed by your doctor. Tell him or her about any side effects you have.