Posted on August 17, 2014

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is encouraging residents to talk about diabetes and discuss its symptoms and risk factors in order to further raise their awareness of the disease. According to HMC’s Senior Consultant and Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Dr. Mahmoud Zirie (pictured), some studies suggest that type 2 diabetes can go undiagnosed for many years, with many diabetics not being diagnosed until complications appear.

While there is no single cause of type 2 diabetes, there are well-established risk factors, including obesity, an inactive lifestyle, increased age, a family history of diabetes, polycystic ovary disease (PCO) and high blood sugar levels during pregnancy, known as gestational diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, many people have no symptoms, or dismiss the symptoms as part of aging. Type 2 diabetes symptoms can vary from one person to another and can include excessive thirst, frequent urination, increased hunger, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing cuts and bruises, unexplained weight loss or gain and numbness in the hands and feet, said Dr. Zirie.

“Being aware of diabetes symptoms is an important part of taking action. These symptoms are like an alarm clock for your health. Knowing the symptoms is the first step in managing the disease and preventing possible complications.” An increasing number of patients diagnosed with diabetes are asymptomatic, underscoring the importance of knowing the risk factors of diabetes.

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“We see many patients at the National Diabetes Center at Hamad General Hospital who experienced no symptoms prior to their diagnosis. They only came to see our physicians for a consultation because they developed one or more of the complications associated with diabetes,” said Dr. Zirie. “It is important to know your risk factors and to get screened if you are at high risk, especially if you are overweight or have a family history of diabetes.”

Individuals with type 2 diabetes almost always have pre-diabetes first; this means that they have higher than normal blood glucose (sugar) levels but that those levels are not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a good indicator of a person’s risk of developing the disease in the future; however, not all patients with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes. “Unlike diabetes, pre-diabetes is reversible and most of the time can be managed through lifestyle modifications, including a healthy diet and regular exercise.”

Diabetes is a complex condition which can affect the entire body. Understanding diabetes is important, even if you don’t have it. For more information on diabetes, including tips on making healthy lifestyle choices, visit