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Video

Dr Dawn:

I’ve been looking at some of the questions that you’ve been posting on our website and it seems a lot of you are interested in diabetes. There’s a lot of confusion out there as to what the symptoms are and I’m glad you’re asking because, in fact, there are three quarters of a million people in the UK who have diabetes and don’t know.

Let me start by explaining the difference between the two types of diabetes. Type one diabetes is what we call an auto-immune condition, it’s where your own body fights against your pancreas and stops you from producing insulin that you need. It’s the less common form and it usually presents in younger people, it may make you feel very thirsty, you might find you feel very tired and that you are going to the loo a lot, weeing a lot and that you lose weight. The much more common type two diabetes may have no symptoms what so ever. We used to call it maturity onset diabetes because it tended to happen in people over 40 and they were putting on weight. Sadly, as we are becoming a bigger country, we’re getting fatter. We are seeing type two diabetes in much younger people and you may not know that you have any symptoms what so ever.

So I am going to start here with a question from somebody who’s 14 and feels constantly tired and is very thirsty. Now, of course, tiredness is a very common symptom but I think the thirst would raise alarm bells for me and I think you should go and see your GP and they will almost certainly want to dip test your urine and maybe arrange a blood test to check your sugar level.

And I am going to go onto a question from somebody here who is craving sugar all the time, could you be diabetic? Actually, no, but it’s a very common question. It’s something I get asked a lot in surgery and it’s a common theme here on the website. Diabetics, actually, untreated or undiagnosed diabetics, have a high sugar level not a low sugar level, so craving sugary foods is not a sign of diabetes.

And another question from somebody who says you’re very overweight, could this be due to diabetes? Not really, actually, it’s the other way round. If you are putting on a lot of weight you are more likely to develop diabetes. It’s not that being diabetic makes you gain weight. There are some treatments for diabetes; insulin for example can mean that you gain weight. But generally speaking, it is weight gain that causes diabetes, not the other way round.

And we’re getting a lot of questions about erection problems and could those be linked to diabetes. The answer is absolutely yes and in fact if you start to develop problems getting an erection it’s very important that you get checked out by your GP. It could be the early sign of vascular disease and it’s very important you get your blood pressure checked, you get checked for diabetes and that you find out what your cholesterol is.

And another question from a gentleman who says he knows he’s diabetic and has noticed his penis is starting to bend up, could that be linked? Yes it could be. It’s very normal for there to be a slight curvature in the erect penis but a pronounced curve could be a sign of a condition called Peyronie’s disease and being diabetic can put you at increased risk of Peyronie’s.

And lots of questions about thrush and recurrent thrush. Diabetics tend to run slightly higher blood sugars, and what that means is that the fungus that causes thrush can thrive. In fact, if I see somebody in surgery who is getting recurrent attacks of thrush I would always check them as, sometimes that can be the only symptom of diabetes. If you’re diabetic and you’re suffering with recurrent thrush it’s almost certainly because your blood sugars are running a little too high so it’s important that you chat either with your practice nurse or your GP because it’s probably time that we adjust your medication.

If you’re worried that you may have symptoms of diabetes then why not take our simple diabetes test on My HealthChecker and if you are still concerned go and see your GP.

Read the video transcript

Doctor Responses: Diabetes

We’ve scoured the Embarrassing Bodies website and put your most popular questions about coping with diabetes to Dr Dawn, so you can benefit from her medical expertise.

The majority of questions were taken from our diabetes condition guide.

If you’re worried that you have symptoms that could indicate diabetes then why not take the diabetes test within My HealthChecker.

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Comments and Questions

Comments & Questions are now archived, but if you see anything on the site that worries you, please report it and one of our moderators will look at it as soon as possible.
Please note: Unfortunately Channel 4 cannot respond to individual inquiries. If you have any concerns, you can check out NHS Choices, but ultimately it is always best to check with a health professional.

I am insulin dependant, however sweat profusely and have to change at least twice a day, I check sugar levels which are between 7 and 8 which is acceptable, what could be wrong?





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Hi My names Michaela im 24 I recently found out I had developed type 1 diabetes in November 2012 when I was 7months pregnant I am now insulin dependent, but I am starting to really suffer with poor eyesight l, aching joints, and bloating in my stomach, I feel very tired all the time, also really stingy pains in my kidneys, I feel like everything has gone downhill since finding out I'm also considering getting fitted with the pump instead of having to inject my insulin, I would really be great full if anyone has any tips or advice for me please as I'm having no luck with my doctor





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Andy have been type 1 diabetic for 34yrs and have few problems,but worst of all is gastroperisis? and bloating taking domperidone tabs for this helps most of time,but when not i can wear up to three size of trousers in one day through this is there anything i can do take to improve this condition have been on insulin to carbs ratio for last 5yrs bloods are super its just this ongoing thing am now seeing phyciatrist as it is getting me down a lot any help would be appreciated





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Hi I have dbt typ2 I did bee sting theropy on my self my level was 14.5 now after 5 weeks its 4.7





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I have been diabetic for 20 years and i seem to be doing an awful lot of injections and injecting alot of insulin each time ive been to my doctor to see if theres anything i could try and was told to take less insulin but if i do that i end up high i take the amount of insulin i do to keep my blood normal so is there anything i can do that isnt going to make me hyper?





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Hello everybody . my name is Kim Paul i have had type 1 for about 4 years I'm 37. just wanted. To know can insulin make you forget things as.my memory is so bad. I used emember every thing and it is getting verry annoying now I can't even remember passwords or phonenumbers. Thank u all .





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I have had type 1 diabetes for 27 years and have lumps on injection sites on my stomach - is there any way these can be removed or broken down in some way?





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change injection sights , change your needles all the time , i get the same problem with lumps , its hurts , dont it ! there is nothing to be done about it om afraid but please use other sights , arms and legs where your fatty bit is . hope my answer helped , i was diagnosed with type 1 when i was, im now 22 !! :)

Im diabetic the other day I had one pint of larger at16:30 the following day I was breathe tested for a crane course my test was way over the limit can you help to tell me why and would it stand up in a court of law





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I am a 37 year old diabetic and had for 20 years. My HbA1c is 7.2 however I suffer from severe fatigue, sore joints , sore heads plus everytime I go to the loo it is extremely sore and messy and hurts every time. My stomach is massively heavily bloated and sore daily. I am so so tired!!! Doctor says probably IBS but I take IBS tabs plis peppermint oil to no avail plus always feel nausea





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Have you ever been tested for Coeliac Disease?

Hey there, I'm Jade! I've had diabetes since I was 7. My diabetes has been poorly controlled for a couple of months now. At one point my glucose levels were amazing and I felt great. But then I started to put on a lot of weight. I had no idea why at first, but when I asked my diabetic nurse, he told me it was something to do with my insulin (I can't remember exactly what was said; I wanted to go home, haha..) That's when everything went downhill.. I started to take less and less insulin, and it I started to lose weight, but I felt awful. So I started to take more insulin, again, but I gained tons of weight, which resulted in me skipping insulin at times, again. I just wanted to know if there was any way I could take my insulin normally, but prevent weight from being put on.. I really want to be healthy, but I also want to look good, which won't or doesn't seem to be happening while taking insulin.. Someone please help me! Thanks a lot! xxxxxxxx





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Hi Jade I have been diabetic for 27 years and two years ago went on a course run by the local hospital called Choice - see if your clinic runs this - fab and really informative - it changed the way I have looked after myself - unfortunately a little late for me as I lost a lot of sight in my thirties - do give it a go - it works on the ratio of insulin your body needs to carbohydrate. Look after yourself.


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