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December 17, 2003

Diagnosis and Symptoms

Question from Manchester, England:

My brother is 21. About 4 years ago he got pancreatitis after excessive alcohol consumption on holiday. He was in hospital for a month and was told by his doctors that he may of done serious damage to his pancreas. He is also overweight (5ft 11 inches and 230 pounds) and takes virtually no exercise. A couple of weeks ago his legs became incredibly fatigued while walking round a train station. He had to sit down and rest, despite the fact that we were running late for the train. This evening he came back from work saying he felt ill and went straight to the bathroom. I found him asleep on the bathroom floor about 30 minutes later and when I woke him he had no recollection of falling asleep. He seemed very confused and seemed to have no idea how he had got there. I am very worried that my brother has a high risk of diabetes and is showing some early signs of the disease. However, he refuses to go to a doctor for a test. From what I've said, does it seem likely that he has diabetes? If so, how can I convince him to go to the doctor?

Answer:

It sounds as though your brother is at high risk for developing diabetes. However, whether he has diabetes remains to be determined. The specific symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, frequent thirst and drinking, blurring of vision, constant fatigue, and weight loss. Whether he is feeling fatigued from the onset of diabetes or another malady needs to be determined by his physician.

JTL