A female in her sixties (Mrs J) makes an appointment with her GP because she has been suffering with pains in her legs and having difficulty walking. She is also having problems with her vision. She presents as overweight, bordering on obese. When questioned about her appetite she mentions that she seems to feel thirsty a lot of the time. The GP takes a blood sample and asks the patient to provide an MSU urine specimen. After using a dipstick on both samples, the GP arranges for the patient to attend the clinic for a glucose tolerance test. The results are in Table 1 below.
Table 1: Plasma glucose concentrations (mmol/L) determined for Mrs J
minutes after glucose load
Discuss how the outcome of the test relates to thesymptoms described by Mrs J.
Excessive thirst is one of the earliest symptoms of diabetes. Thirst and the need to pee often are both symptoms of having too much sugar (glucose) in your blood. When you have diabetes, your body is unable to effectively utilize glucose from diet. As a result, sugar builds up in your blood. High blood sugar levels cause your kidneys to work overtime to eliminate the excess sugar. To assist clear the excess sugar from your body, your kidneys must produce more pee. You will most likely have to pee more frequently and with a greater amount of urine. This expends more water in your body. Water is even drawn from your tissues to aid in the removal of excess sugar.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause excessive thirst and frequent urination. You may also experience additional symptoms. If not treated and controlled, both types of diabetes can produce identical symptoms, such as:
weariness and lethargy due to dry mouth
a lot of hunger
gums that are red, swollen, or painful
Infections occur often.
irritation as a result of mood changes
slimming down (typically in type 1)
tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
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