AIDS may have its ABCDs of prevention, but diabetes has a more sinister stew of letters to alert us of its onset.
Explains Dr. Estrellita Fernando-Lopez: ?The most often described symptoms of diabetes are what is known to us doctors as the 3Ps ?
polyuria, polydipsia, and polyphagia.
Polyuria is frequent urination, polydipsia ? frequent sensation of thirst resulting in increased fluid intake, and polyphagia ? frequent hunger which leads to increased food intake. It becomes alarming if the patient loses weight despite the increased food intake. This is what we call decompensated or poorly controlled diabetes.
Other frequent manifestations are vaginal itchiness in women (which tells of a fungal infection), on and off blurred vision, and wounds which take longer than usual to heal, especially if sustained in the legs or feet.
Unfortunately, when the 3Ps appear, the blood sugar would have been at least 160 mg/dl or 8.8 mmol/L (the normal blood sugar is below 100 mg/dl or 5.5 mmol/L). A diagnosis of diabetes is made when the fasting sugar (the level of sugar in one?s blood after fasting for 8 to 12 hours) is 126 mg/dl (7 mmol/L) or more.
The level at which the kidneys will spill sugar in the urine is 160-180 mg percent. Sugar is excreted with water ? resulting in polyuria. Any resulting dehydration is compensated for by the patient?s increased fluid intake. Frequent hunger results from the inability of blood sugar to enter body cells ? perceived as starvation by the body ? leading to stimulation of hunger. Weight loss results when even increased food intake becomes inadequate to replace that which is lost in the urine.
When one experiences the 3Ps, it means the blood sugar level has increased and the patient has had diabetes for some time. The early stage of diabetes is often without symptoms, leading doctors to recommend that those with a strong family history of diabetes, those at risk, and everyone 45 years and above undergo regular blood sugar testing.? ?