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Do I Have Diabetes?

Updated on August 17, 2017
k@ri profile image

I was a registered nurse for 25+ years. Working mainly in the operating room, I've been everything from staff nurse to Director of Nursing.

Foot Care Warning

One of the main health concerns in Diabetes is protection of your feet! Always wear closed toe shoes that fit comfortably. Check your feet daily.  Be aware of any cut or blisters. Watch these carefully and see your doctor if they show any sign of infection or do not heal!!!

Are you eating more and more, but not gaining weight? Do you eat and eat, but never feel full? If you answer yes to these questions you may have a condition called Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which the pancreas stops making sufficient amounts of insulin and…uh…you are gazing at me with a blank look on your face. OK, let’s break this down a bit.

Safety First!

First, for your safety, I will tell you the main signs and symptoms of Diabetes. Although Diabetes is a condition that afflicts many people who live long and fruitful lives, it can be fatal if not diagnosed. We will go into details later, first read these symptoms.

Know the Symptoms of Diabetes
Know the Symptoms of Diabetes | Source

Main Symptoms of Diabetes:

  • Increased Thirst and Urination
  • Extreme Hunger
  • Weight Loss Despite Eating More than Usual
  • Fatigue and Irritability
  • Blurred Vision
  • Slow Healing Sores and/or Frequent Infections

If you have 3 or more of these symptoms, go immediately to your doctor! Do not pass go, do not smell the roses…go get medical help! If you have been experiencing the top 3 for any amount of time, and your doctor cannot see you, go to the nearest emergency room.

Types of Diabetes

(Disclaimer: Keep in mind that the following is a very simplified version of what the body does.)

I will only mention two forms of Diabetes here:

Type I Diabetes usually occurs during childhood or adolescence, but can occur at any age. Type I Diabetes is caused by the body attacking itself (autoimmune disease), and is generally thought to be caused by genetic malfunction or virus. The actual cause is not well understood. Little or no insulin is produced by the body in Type I Diabetes.

Type II Diabetes usually occurs in adults. The main risk factors are being overweight, sedentary, having a family history of Diabetes, certain ethnic groups and increased age. The symptoms come on gradually and someone can be diabetic for a long time without realizing it. As more and more children become obese, the incidence of this type of Diabetes is growing in adolescents and young adults.

What is Insulin and Why Does My Body Need It?

All the food we eat is broken down by our bodies to glucose (think of glucose as the simplest form of sugar). The cells in our body are the factories of life. They produce most of what is necessary to maintain old tissue and grow new tissue. Hormones are like messengers and escorts. They either deliver messages to other parts of the body, or escort something necessary for production into the cells.

Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by our bodies in the pancreas. Insulin is the escort that allows sugar to get into our cells. Insulin is the only escort that is allowed to bring glucose into the cells.

Why is Glucose so Important?

Glucose is the fuel of the cell factories. Cells without glucose are like cars without gasoline…they do not work. Lately, there has been a big push for alternate fuel sources for cars. This is not so in the human body. There is NO alternate fuel source for your cells. If glucose is not available to your cells they will start to break down and “eat” cells in your body for food. (This process, named “catabolism”, always reminds me of “cannibalism”.) It is ironic to think that, if you have Diabetes, you could effectively die of starvation while eating more than ever. (This does not happen, because the side effects of having undiagnosed Diabetes will kill you first!)

National Diabetes Awareness Month


What is Insulin Resistance?

Maybe your doctor has told you that you don’t really have Diabetes, you have insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is when, for some unknown reason, your cells stop accepting insulin as glucose’s escort. They become forgetful with age and forget that they should let insulin bring glucose in. They remember at times and then do allow some of the glucose in.

People who are told they are insulin resistant usually have plenty of glucose and insulin floating around, but without the cell’s recognition, these are left, cold and lonely, on the dark highways of the blood stream. Because some of the glucose is admitted into the cells, individuals with insulin resistance do not usually experience the symptoms of Diabetes.

Do you begin to drool at the mere mention of food?
Do you begin to drool at the mere mention of food? | Source
Do you find you are as thirsty as this cat?
Do you find you are as thirsty as this cat? | Source
Do people say you are being a bear?
Do people say you are being a bear? | Source

Why Do I Feel So Hungry All the Time?

When your cells are low on fuel, they put a call into your brain telling you that you are hungry.  If the glucose is not getting into your cells, a vicious cycle occurs.  The cells need fuel, they call the brain, and you eat.  The cells still need fuel, they call the brain, and you eat again.  Soon, you realize that you are hungry and eating all the time, but you are not gaining weight…and may even be losing weight.

Why Am I So Thirsty and Need to Pee So Often?

Normally when you eat, your body secretes insulin and insulin allows the glucose to get into the cells. This process changes when you have Diabetes. You no longer excrete the necessary insulin, so instead of going into the cells, the glucose stays in your blood stream. Your blood stream likes balance, if there are too many solids, it will take liquid from the cells to even itself out. The cells then tell the brain they need more liquids. You get thirsty.

The kidneys' filtering system is one way our bodies get rid of too many solids in the bloodstream. When the kidneys learn that the blood has too many solids, they start working overtime to clear this up. Thus, you need to urinate more frequently.

Why Am I So Tired and Irritable?

Lack of glucose causes your body to believe it is not being fed.  The brain requires a great deal of glucose to function normally.  When glucose is not available your body conserves energy making you tired and irritable. 

What Do I Do Now?

If you think you may have Diabetes, the first step is to see your doctor. There are many options available, so don’t think that you will have to give yourself shots for the rest of your life! Options have improved greatly over the years. Most people take a pill to control their Diabetes. Many people control their Diabetes through diet and exercise.

In the next article, I will discuss what increases your risks for developing Diabetes and what you can do to minimize them.

© 2009 Kari Poulsen


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    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 7 years ago from Ohio

      incatreasures, Thanks! Your blog looks very interesting. I will have to check it out more thoroughly.

      olaoyemi, I'm very glad you found it useful! Thanks for letting me know.

      tarotexperience, I'm glad you liked it! That website is very useful, thanks for the link.

    • tarotexperience profile image

      tarotexperience 7 years ago from UK

      A great hub abd thought you would be interested in this is a support and advice web site

    • olaoyemi profile image

      olaoyemi 7 years ago

      Thanks for this peace of good information.My Dad has been suffering from diabetes for long,and I think with this will help him a long way in maintaining his condition.Thanks.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Drew, It's actually an insulin deficiency that leads to a lack of glucose being drawn from the bloodstream into cells. The cells use the glucose as "food" to power different chemical reactions. Hope this helps. You can also follow the link for the American Diabetes Society. They have a ton of information. :D

    • Drew Breezzy profile image

      Drew Breezzy 8 years ago from somewhere in my mind

      My best friend has Type I Diabetes. I have a lot of respect for him not making a big deal of it like others I know with diabetes. But I don't know much about it though. So diabetes is a glucose deficiency?

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks mdawson! I am sorry to hear about your foot. I will keep you in my prayers. The disease is complex and can be miserable. There are many do's and don'ts.

      After reading this and the comment by agvulpes, I've edited this hub and will include the edit in all the rest. They now tell diabetics to watch their feet carefully in the very beginning. It is a very serious issue.

      I believe that I read in your profile that you do a bit of traveling while helping others. It must be difficult for you, I know it was difficult for my father when he traveled often. It is wonderful that you continue your work despite the difficulties. The world is blessed by your presence!

    • profile image

      mdawson17 8 years ago

      K@ri I can honestly say that as diabetic I have learned that taking care of my feet is one thing that is a must!! I have had such a battle trying to save my left foot due to ulcers! The disease of diabetes's is complex and sometimes can be miserable! It can limit your life if you do take care of the responsibilities of the disease!!

      Great hub I hope those who have diabetes will read it and use it to benefit them!

      Thanks for caring about us diabetics K@ri !!!


    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      agvulpes, You are right, it is a very important thing. All Diabetics need to take extreme care with their feet. Not only are there issues with not feeling, but there are healing issues also. Diabetics need to wear shoes that cover and protect the toes and feet.

      I can remember watching that show. LOL, it was long before I read my first Chuck joke!

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      k@ri, to me it is one of the most important things as I lost a friend because he did not realise until too late that he had injured his foot.

      Quite a coincidence, after reading this Hub last night I walked inside and my wife was watching Chuck in "Walker Texas Ranger" she thinks he is great.


    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Hi agvulpes! This is the first in what is beginning to be many on diabetes. I planned on telling about the numbing effect when I do one on complications. I'm glad you liked the Chuck jokes! I was LOL when I found them!

    • agvulpes profile image

      Peter 8 years ago from Australia

      hi k@ri I'm type 2 but its under control . I did not see any reference to the numbing effect that it has on the body, and can be very dangerous.

      Loved the Chuck one as well. lol

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Kyanisunise, I'm glad you are OK! It can be dangerous to not be diagnosed!

      Whikat, I tried for this, so Thank You So Much!! I will continue this, probably on the weekends. My father has diabetes and I may well have it at some time. I know how "no news is good news" rules. I want people to know that although diabetes stays with you for life, it does not have to mean shots every day! The best thing is to get diagnosed.

    • profile image

      Whikat 8 years ago

      Great Job k@ri, This hub was not only detailed, but I think that this hub is the first that I have seen anybody mix humor with the seriousness of diabetes. I really enjoyed this and will share it with others. I think you found a perfect way to reduce fear about Diabetes.

    • Kyanisunrise profile image

      Kyanisunrise 8 years ago from Utah

      Great Hub. Soounds like me a few years ago. I was drinking two gallons of water a day.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Sandman, Thanks for stopping by, I'm glad you liked the pictures. My favorite is the lizard...gross, but it fit my purposes well.

    • profile image

      TheSandman 8 years ago

      Great info and very cute pictures. Thank you

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      shamelabboush, I'm glad you liked it. I was answering a request, but it seems the hubber requested and has not been back. I hope she is OK.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      SweetiePie, That's how many people find out, unexplained weight loss. My father has it, and my uncle has Type I, so I also am high risk. Thanks for stopping by!

    • shamelabboush profile image

      shamelabboush 8 years ago

      Great Hub and informative too.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      My mom has type II also and she started losing lots of weight, then went to the doctor to find out she was diabetic. I have a high risk for adult onset also since it was on my dad's side of the family. Very informative hub.

    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 8 years ago from Ohio

      Hi CC! I couldn't resist the Chuck, and I guess I'm buying stock in Splenda!

    • profile image

      C. C. Riter 8 years ago

      I have type II, loved the Chuck bit. LOL