Glossary of Medical Terms

Diabetes

Diabetes is a lifelong condition in which sugar (glucose) remains in the blood rather than entering the body’s cells to be used for energy. This results in persistently high blood sugar, which, over time, can damage many body systems.

Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst and frequent urination (especially at night); unexplained increase in appetite; unexplained weight loss; fatigue; erection problems; blurred vision; and tingling, burning, or numbness in the hands or feet.

People who have diabetes are at increased risk for many serious health problems, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) and heart problems, eye problems that can lead to blindness, circulation and nerve problems, and kidney disease and kidney failure.

Pregnant women with uncontrolled diabetes have an increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects.

Diabetes is treated with diet and lifestyle changes and with medicines (such as insulin or oral medicines). If blood sugar levels are kept within the recommended range, the risk for many complications from diabetes decreases. 

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