Health Watch - Diabetes Warnings

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

You've seen reports that diabetes is on the rise. How do you know if you're at risk?

In recent months, health news reports have been full of stories about how many Americans of all ages are being diagnosed with diabetes. This health trend is linked to the increase in obesity. Not only is diabetes dangerous on its own, it's also a risk factor for other health problems. In fact, diabetes is the biggest independent risk factor for heart disease.

If diabetes is managed, some of the health problems associated with it can be prevented. Diabetes itself may be prevented if doctors and patients notice warning signs and take action. Doctors at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas say it's especially important to notice diabetes symptoms in children. In the past, type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, was most common in children, but in recent years, type 2 diabetes, which is more common in older adults, has been on the increase.

Dr. Dana Hardin, a UT Southwestern pediatrician, says that people who are overweight or who have a family history of diabetes are most at risk, so they should be watched more carefully. Another sign is excessive thirst, leading to increased urination. Some people experience an upset stomach or nausea. Increased fatigue, leading to crankiness, is another possible sign.

Weight loss is often a sign of type 1 diabetes in children. It may also occur with type 2 diabetes, but may not be as noticeable because children with type 2 diabetes tend to be obese to begin with.


Feb. 2004