Understanding the Risks and Symptoms of Diabetes

The most common forms of Diabetes are Type I, Type II, Gestational, and Pre-Diabetes. Life threatening conditions that can accompany diabetes are heart disease, blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage and macrosomia or a large baby (for gestational diabetes), which can cause obesity and susceptibility to Type II diabetes in the future.

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 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.

People with diabetes frequently experience certain symptoms that 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

Poorly managed diabetes can lead to many long-term complications

  • Heart attack
  • Strokes
  • Blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Blood vessel disease that may require an amputation
  • Nerve damage
  • Impotence in men

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 at Providence.

Visit a Diabetes Specialist in Your Neighborhood

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 202-269-7128, Monday - Friday from 8AM - 5PM.

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

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

Main hospital Phone: (202) 269 7000

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