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May 16, 2004

Complications

Question from Champlain, New York, USA:

I have been having really bad stomach problems since I recently got diabetes. I know that some of the symptoms of high or low blood sugar are the symptoms that I have. I go to the bathroom frequently. It seems like I can never drink enough. My sugars have been normal. I eat well. I don't eat meat or dairy products, which I know can make me have a problem with iron. I'm always tired. The doctors have asked me if I was anemic, due to the not sleeping. Are my kidneys starting to fail? When I first found out that I had diabetes, they told me that kidney failure is a big issue. How can I find out if this is happening to me?

Answer:

Complications from diabetes rarely happen very early after diagnosis. Usually, however, complications, such as kidney disease, happen after having diabetes that is poorly controlled for many years (although it can happen even with reasonable control of diabetes). Your diabetes physician has the tools necessary to screen for all of the complications of diabetes and can direct you to appropriate resources to screen for any complications, learn more about how to avoid the complications of diabetes, and in general, take excellent care of your diabetes. I would suggest talking with your physician until all of your concerns have been addressed to your satisfaction. Taking an hour or two with a diabetes educator may also be in your best interest.

MSB