Understanding the Risks and Symptoms of Diabetes

Understanding the Risks and Symptoms of Diabetes

The most common forms of diabetes are Type 1, Type II, Gestational, and Pre-Diabetes.  Life threatening conditions that can accompany diabetes, also known as co-morbidities, are heart disease or other cardiovascular illness, blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage and macrosomia or a large baby (for gestational diabetes).  Macrosomia can cause obesity and susceptibility to Type II diabetes in the future for the mother and infant.

Diabetes can occur in anyone.  Major risk factors include:

  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Physical inactivity
  • Heredity: People who have close relatives with the disease are somewhat more likely to develop it.
  • Age: The risk of developing diabetes also increases as people grow older.  People who are over 40 years of age and overweight are more likely to develop diabetes, although the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in adolescents is growing.
  • Ethnicity: Diabetes is more common among Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders.
  • Pregnancy: Women who develop diabetes while pregnant (a condition called gestational diabetes) are more likely to develop full-blown diabetes later in life.

Common diabetes symptoms include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurry vision
  • Irritability
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Frequent skin, bladder or gum infections
  • Wounds that don't heal
  • Extreme, unexplained fatigue

If not managed, diabetes can lead to long-term health issues:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Vascular disease, which could require an amputation
  • Nerve damage
  • Impotence

Visit a Diabetes Specialist in Your Neighborhood

In some diabetes cases, there are no symptoms. If you have any questions about diabetes issues or concerns, please contact one of our specialists at the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Providence Hospital.  To Find a Physician who can help you manage your diabetes, click here or call our physician referral services line at 1-855-823-WELL.  To find out more about our Diabetes Services or to make an appointment with a Providence diabetes specialist today, call 202-854-7128, Monday - Friday from 8AM - 5PM.

The Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Providence Hospital is located at:

Suite 110 - DePaul Professional Building
Providence Hospital
1160 Varnum Street, NE
Washington, DC 20017


Main hospital Phone: (202) 854 7000

Providence Hospital, 1150 Varnum Street, N.E. Washington, DC 20017 2180