In order to diagnose diabetes mellitus, there are various possibilities of examination. In addition, the examination of the organs for which a high blood sugar is particularly dangerous, as well as of the nerves and vessels, is of paramount importance. Here it must be checked whether damage has already occurred.
Studies in diabetes
For diagnostic purposes, various examination options are suitable:
- Anamnesis (ask for a medical history): Symptoms such as weight loss and a feeling of great thirst can explain how long the diabetes has gone undetected.
- Blood and hormone examinations: The repeated determination of blood sugar has the greatest importance for diabetic diagnostics. The blood sugar value must be considered before and after the meal, and the blood glucose long-term value (HbA1c) is checked over and over again.
- Even if suspected insulin release is suspected, the glucose tolerance test is carried out and the urine test for urine sugar rounds off the diagnosis.
The blood sugar levels also play a special role in the course of the disease, because properly adjusted blood sugar helps to avoid secondary diseases.
Further examinations for organ damage
When diagnosed with diabetes, all organs for which high blood sugar is particularly harmful should be evaluated for pre-existing damage. A thorough eye exam, a kidney function test, an ECG for cardiac function and an examination of blood flow and nerve function are essential to get an overview of failures or dysfunctions.
The elevated blood sugar level damages the organs of our body in different ways. The large blood vessels in which this flows to "sugary" blood tend to arteriosclerosis and then promote hypertension, a coronary heart disease - and at worst a heart attack - or arrhythmia, a stroke or cerebral hemorrhage. Other organs can also suffer from an infarct.
But also the small blood vessels are damaged - this has especially for the kidneys (diabetic nephropathy) and eyes (diabetic retinopathy), but also the potency consequences. Dialysis and vision loss are consequences that many diabetics have to deal with after years of illness.
Diabetes affects vessels and nerves
The vascular changes are called diabetic macroangiopathy (in the large blood vessels) and microangiopathy (in the small blood vessels). The poor blood circulation, especially at the "body end" as the feet, affects even the smallest nerve endings (diabetic polyneuropathy).
In diabetics, the nerves are less sensitive to stimuli, which especially on the feet together with the poor blood circulation can quickly lead to the clinical picture of the diabetic foot. This susceptibility to infection is also found in other parts of the body - inflammation of the teeth, nail fungus and vaginal fungi are common problems.
Diabetes in pregnancy means danger to mother and child. This can be both a diabetic pregnant and diabetes for the first time in pregnancy (gestational diabetes) occur. This pregnancy is always classified as a high-risk pregnancy and needs special monitoring.