Cataract formation is another complication associated with diabetes mellitus. It is
theorized that such cataract formation occurs because of increased levels of sorbital in
the lens of the eye.
c. Signs of Diabetes Mellitus. Fortunately, there are some signs that can
indicate the presence of diabetes mellitus. Some of these signs are listed and
discussed below. Remember, if you believe that you or any person you know has
diabetes, you should contact a physician as soon as possible for professional
(1) Polyuria. Polyuria means increased urine output. In diabetics, polyuria
is caused by high level of glucose present in the blood. Since the glucose cannot be
transferred into the cells of the body, the glucose increases in concentration in the
blood. The glucose produces diuresis because it acts as an osmotic diuretic. Hence,
output of urine is increased.
(2) Polydipsia. Polydipsia means increased thirst. The thirst is produced by
the excessive level of glucose in the blood and the movement of fluids from the cells
into the blood in an attempt to dilute the glucose concentration.
(3) Polyphagia. Polyphagia means increased appetite. This polyphagia is
caused by the cell's need for glucose. Although the concentration of glucose in the
blood might be extremely high, the lack of insulin means that the cells cannot use that
(4) Hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia refers to higher than normal levels of
glucose in the blood. The normal level of glucose in the blood is 60 to 100 milligrams
per 100 milliliters. Of course, the level of glucose will increase after the ingestion of
(5) Glucosuria. Glucosuria refers to the presence of glucose in the urine.
Glucose is in the urine because it is in high levels in the blood and is removed from the
blood in the kidneys (see para 10-7c(1) above).
d. Clinical Tests for Discovering and Monitoring Diabetes. Suppose you
think you have diabetes mellitus. Perhaps you have been drinking more fluids than
usual. Perhaps you have more urine output than in the past. How can a person
determine if he/she has diabetes mellitus? Fortunately, tests are available that can help
the physician to determine whether or not a person has diabetes. The glucose
tolerance test is given under controlled conditions under the direction of a physician to
determine if a person has diabetes. After the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus has been
confirmed, the physician will prescribe insulin or some oral hypoglycemic agent as a
treatment for the condition. Even then, the level of glucose in the blood must be
monitored periodically. The methods below can be used by the diabetic in the home to
monitor glucose levels in the patient's body.