Symptoms Of Diabetes

Posted on August 24, 2013 at 9:00 PM

A Complete Guide To All The Signs And Symptoms Of Diabetes

Diabetes is the disease that occurs when blood sugar levels are too high. Blood glucose is the main source of energy in our bodies, and it comes from the food we eat. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreases, helps to synthesize the glucose into cells so that it can be used for energy. 

Sometimes, the body might fail to make enough (or any) insulin, or isn’t able to use insulin well. In such a case, the glucose stays in your blood and doesn’t reach the cells. Having too much glucose in your blood can lead to several health problems over time. And while diabetes has no cure, there are a number of steps you can take to manage your diabetes and stay healthy. 

Types of Diabetes 

Type 1 Diabetes: This is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that make insulin in your pancreas. As a result, the body is unable to make enough insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed among children and young adults, though it can appear at any age. People with this condition have to take insulin everyday to stay alive. 

Type 2 diabetes: With this type of diabetes, your body is unable to use or make insulin well. Type 2 diabetes can appear at almost any age, even during early childhood. However, it commonly affects middle-aged and older people, and is the most common type of diabetes. 

Gestational diabetes: This type of diabetes occurs in some women during pregnancy. In most cases, gestational diabetes goes away once the baby is born. However, a woman who had gestational diabetes generally has a higher chance of developing type 2 diabetes later on in her life. 

Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes 

How does anyone tell if they have diabetes? Well, in many cases, early symptoms are from higher-than-normal glucose levels in the blood. However, these warning signs could be so mild that you don’t notice them. This is especially the case with Type 2 diabetes, where most people find out they have it when they start getting health issues caused by the long-term damage caused by the condition. 

With type 1 diabetes, the symptoms usually occur rather quickly, and it’s easier to diagnose in a matter of days or weeks. The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are much more severe too. 

Early Warning Signs of Diabetes
All types of diabetes share the same common warning signs. Here are the common symptoms of diabetes:

1. Frequent urination and being thirstier

On average, a healthy person usually has to urinate between 4 to 7 times a day. However, people with diabetes tend to urinate a lot more. The reason behind this is that normally, the body reabsorbs the glucose in the blood while it passes through the kidneys; however, with high blood sugar content, the kidneys might struggle bringing it all back in. the result of this is that it causes the body to make more urine, which requires lots of fluids. 

Consequently, you have to pee much more often than normal. And since you’re peeing too much, you’ll tend to get a lot thirstier too. Plus, when you drink more fluids, you pee more!

2. Always Feeling Hungry and fatigued

Since glucose from the blood is not being synthesized correctly, people with diabetes often don’t get enough energy from the food they eat. The body isn’t able to make any or enough insulin, or the cells resist the insulin your body makes, meaning glucose can’t reach them and you’ll have little energy. This can lead to you feeling more tired and hungrier than usual. 

3. Itchy Skin and dry mouth

Since your body is using up much of its fluid resources to make urine, there’s less fluids for other thing. This could make you more dehydrated, and your mouth may feel dry. Itchiness often results from the drier skin. 

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes:

4. Slow healing of wounds and cuts

Having high blood sugar over an extended period of time can damage your nerves and blood vessels, which can impair blood circulation. The result of this is that even small wounds and cuts might take weeks or months to heal completely. This slow rate of healing also increases the risk of infection. 

5. Blurred Vision

The excess sugar in your blood can damage the tiny nerves and blood vessels in your eyes, which could lead to blurred vision. The blurry vision can occur in one or both eyes, and may come and go. In case the person fails to undergo the proper treatment, the damage to these vessels could become so severe, and it could eventually cause permanent vision loss. 

6. Yeast Infections

Both women and men with diabetes can suffer from these. Yeast typically feeds on glucose, so having plenty of glucose around makes them thrive. Infections can grow in any moist, warm, fold of skin, including under breasts, between toes and fingers, as well as in or around sex organs. 

7. Pain or numbness in legs or feet

High blood glucose levels can affect the circulation of blood and damage the nerves around your body. When it comes to Type 2 diabetes, this might lead to pain or a sensation of numbness or tingling in your feet or hands. This condition is referred to as neuropathy, and it can get worse over time and lead to more serious complications in case the person doesn’t get the right treatment for their condition. 

8. Patches of dark skin (acanthosis nigricans)

The skin condition known as acanthosis nigricans could also signify a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. The condition is characterized by patches of dark skin forming on the creases of the armpit, neck, or groin, which may feel very soft and velvety.

Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes

9. Unplanned weight loss

If the body is unable to get the energy it requires from food, it will start to burn fat and muscle for energy instead. This will lead to weight loss, even if you didn’t change how you eat. 

10. Vomiting and Nausea

If your body results to burning fat to get the energy it needs, it makes ketones as a by-product. These can build up in your blood and reach dangerous levels, which is a possibly life-threatening condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis. The ketones can make you feel sick to your stomach. 

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

In most cases, high blood sugar and diabetes in pregnant women has no symptoms other than having to pee more often or feeling a little thirstier than normal. 

Early Warning Signs of Diabetes Complications

Some of the signs and symptoms of diabetes (type 2) that warn of possible complications include:

•    Itchy skin (especially around the groin or vaginal area)

•    Slow healing cuts and wounds

•    Recent weight gain

•    Decreased vision

•    Tingling and numbness of hands and feet

•    Dark, velvety skin developing around the neck, groin, and armpits

•    Frequent yeast infections

•    Erectile dysfunction or impotence

Hypoglycemia 

Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) is responsible for most of the early warning signs of diabetes, including:

•    Blurry vision

•    Heavy thirst

•    Weight loss

•    Greater hunger

•    Frequent urination

•    Fatigue and lethargy 

•    Tingling and numb feet

•    Skin and vaginal infections

•    Sugar in your urine

•    Slow healing sores and cuts

Hypoglycemia 

Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurs when the level of glucose or sugar in your blood is too low to support the body. Its symptoms include:

•    Nervousness or anxiousness

•    Shakiness

•    Being cranky or impatient

•    Feeling clammy, chilly, or sweaty 

•    Hunger

•    Dizziness or lightheadedness 

•    Feeling weak

•    Being sleepy

•    Confusion

•    Tingling or numb lips, cheeks, or tongue

You might also experience:

•    Faster heartbeat (than normal)

•    Blurred vision

•    Pale skin

•    Coordination problems

•    Headache

•    Crying or nightmares while you sleep

•    Seizures 


Diabetic Coma

The official name for this condition is hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). It’s often a serious complication that could lead to a diabetic coma or even death in both types of diabetes. It’s more common with type 2 diabetes, though, and it occurs when the blood glucose levels get too high that your body gets severely dehydrated. Some of its symptoms include:

•    Dry, parched mouth

•    Over 600 mg/dl blood sugar level

•    Vision loss

•    Extreme thirst

•    Dry, warm skin that doesn’t sweat

•    Weakness on one side of the body

•    Hallucinations

•    Confusion and sleepiness

•    High fever (over 101 F)

When to Call a Doctor

People aged 45 or older, and anyone with risks for diabetes should get tested regularly. Spotting the condition early helps you avoid serious health issues, including nerve damage, heart problems, and other complications. As a rule of thumb, you should call your doctor if:

•    You are peeing a lot more than usual

•    You’re feeling weak, very thirsty, and sick to your stomach

•    You have a bad stomach ache

•    You have a sweet breath with the smell of a nail polish remover (sign of high ketones levels)

•    You’re breathing faster and more deeply than normal

The Takeaway

Anyone who experiences these signs and symptoms of diabetes as discussed in the article should see a doctor for an evaluation. This is especially true if you have been diagnosed with the condition before, or have other risk factors for developing the condition. An early diagnosis and treatment of diabetes can improve the quality of a person’s life, and significantly lower the risk of developing severe complications.

If you enjoyed this blog post, please check out the rest of our website and learn more about the symptoms of diabetes.