Could it be diabetes?
by Dr John Winsor - The Sunday Times of Malta

Everyone thinks that diabetes is a disease where the patient excretes a lot of sugar, is very thin and is inordinately thirsty.

But there are many people who probably have diabetes and won’t know they have it until a severe symptom arises. However, there are some minor warning symptoms to look out for.

Diabetes tends to be hereditary. If you have a diabetic parent, brother, sister or even aunt, there is an increased risk of the disease.

But people often don’t realise that although it often causes youngsters to lose weight, later on in life there may be a filling out of the waistline.

And on the subject of weight, overeating can also trigger off diabetes.

If a woman who unexpectedly has one or two failed pregnancies, it will need to be investigated in several ways, but the possibility of her being a diabetic must be reckoned with. Similarly, a mother who produces a really large child — for example, over four and a half kilos — needs to consider this possibility.

Another way the diagnosis can arise is when a patient goes for a life assurance medical examination and is rejected when they believed they were fit and healthy.

If this happens, the patient needs to go and see their own doctor and take a specimen of urine with them.

One of the early signs of diabetes is when the patient becomes plagued with boils for no apparent reason. Another skin condition associated with diabetes is when there is infuriating itching — generally at night — after a visit to the loo.

A few final points also need remembering. Diabetes is not really a definite entity of a disease, but it is said that about 13 people in every 1,000 n Western Europe has a sugar defect in the urine — and about half of them are unaware of the fact.

The outlook is vastly better for diabetics than it used to be. Before insulin, a diabetic 10-year-old only had a life expectancy of less that two years — this expectancy is now about 45 years. Older patients will generally get less serious effects.

Lastly, if it turns out that you do have diabetes, don’t jump to the conclusion that injections will be essential. It may well be possible to treat you either by diet alone or by insulin taken by mouth.

So, if you have any suspicions at all that you may have diabetes, don’t be afraid to consult your doctor.