Answer by: Jerry Nelson, M.D., Hancock County Health System medical staff
Providing treatment and care at Garner Medical Clinic
Diabetes Mellitus is a problem in how your body processes simple sugars or glucose, your main dietary energy source. Your pancreas is the organ that makes insulin which enables your cells to use the glucose circulating in your blood. Blood glucose levels two to three times the normal fasting level of 100 rarely, if ever, cause symptoms more than just being thirsty, urinating more than normal, and being a little fatigued. When these blood sugar levels are consistently elevated because your pancreas can’t keep up with the demand for insulin, these minor symptoms feel normal; however, sustained elevated blood sugars over time cause changes in our blood vessels that eventually lead to the major complications of diabetes: heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, and poor circulation peripherally causing infections and numbness. Though these problems may take decades to develop, once they start causing symptoms they cannot be reversed just with glucose control.
Screening fasting blood glucose levels will be elevated if someone is becoming diabetic even if they have no symptoms. This screening is the best way to detect problems if there is a family history of diabetes or a personal history of obesity.
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