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Diabetes is a condition in which sugar (glucose) remains in the blood rather than entering the body's cells to be used for energy. This results in high blood sugar. Over time, high blood sugar 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 high blood sugar over a long period of time 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.
Women with diabetes and high blood sugar who become pregnant have an increased risk of miscarriage and birth defects.
Diabetes is treated with diet and lifestyle changes and with medicines. If blood sugar levels are kept within the recommended range, the risk for many complications from diabetes decreases.
Last Revised: July 16, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & David C.W. Lau, MD, PhD, FRCPC - Endocrinology
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