signs of diabetes symptoms

Diabetes Symptoms: What Are The Signs Of Diabetes?

The initial diabetes symptoms are thirst, the urge to urinate more often, weight loss, vision problems, and fatigue. Often there are no symptoms and the disease is allowed to continue and get worse before it is diagnosed. Many people have Pre-diabetes but they are unaware of it as there are usually no signs of diabetes. Having some of the diabetes symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have diabetes. But it is always better to consult your doctor who will arrange for diabetes tests. Someone in the world is diagnosed with diabetes every two minutes.

Types of Diabetes

There are four types of diabetes:

1. Pre-Diabetes
2. Type-1 Diabetes
3. Type-2 Diabetes
4. Gestational Diabetes

If you suspect that you may have diabetes and you have experienced some signs of diabetes, or if you are concerned that a loved one may have the disease, below are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes that may alert you to seek professional help.

Diabetes Symptoms

The most common signs of diabetes are:

– Excessive thirst that can’t be quenched.
– Excessive urination especially at night.
– Sudden unexplained weight loss.
– Excessive unexplained fatigue.
– Blurred vision.
– Delayed healing of cuts and wounds.
– Thrush or genital itching.

These signs of diabetes are caused by the excess glucose in the blood that the body is unable to process. The body attempts to flush out the glucose by increased urination. High glucose levels in the urine create a breeding ground for fungal infections which causes thrush.

If left untreated diabetes can lead to severe health problems including diabetic coma called “diabetic ketoacidosis” which could be fatal. It is hard to ignore the symptoms of Type-1 diabetes as it is sudden and seriously affects health. Most Type-1 diabetes is diagnosed in early adulthood or childhood but there are many cases of adult-onset diabetes. It is vitally important to have Type-1 diabetes diagnosed, treated, and managed as soon as possible as delays can cause irreparable damage to the organs of the body.

Type-2 diabetes is not that easy to spot as it develops slowly but is just as serious if left untreated as it can affect body organs like the heart, liver, and kidneys, as well as blood vessels, nerves, and eyes.

Early diagnosis can help prevent serious complications by controlling blood sugar levels and taking the right medication. Type-1 diabetes is treated with injectable insulin that includes long-acting overnight doses as well as injections every time food is consumed. Blood sugar levels have to be monitored regularly during the day to prevent spikes. Too much insulin can cause the body to go into an insulin-induced coma which can be fatal.

Type-2 diabetes requires oral medication and in some cases injectable insulin.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is considered a chronic, life-long disease that can cause severe complications if left untreated. Diabetes occurs when blood sugar levels become too high. This is because the body is unable to properly use the glucose (sugar) present in the blood. The two main types of diabetes, Type-1, and Type-2 are due to different conditions. But they are both serious disorders that needs proper treatment and management. This will help to prevent serious complications from setting in.

Glucose is the fuel that the body needs for energy. When the glucose in the blood is unable to enter the cells of the body, diabetes develops. Insulin is the “key” that is necessary to unlock the cells. Hence glucose can enter and turns into energy for the body. In the case of Type-1 diabetes, this happens because there is no insulin to open the “lock” to the cells. In Type-2 diabetes, insulin is there. But it is only able to partially unlock the cells.

Insulin plays a vital role in our body. Insulin is a hormone and pancreas produces it. It breaks down the carbohydrates in the food we eat into glucose. As soon as we start eating, the pancreas releases insulin to move glucose from the blood into the cells. Hence the body uses this glucose for producing energy. That is why insulin is often referred to as the “key”. Hence insulin unlocks the doors of the cells to allow glucose to enter.

Type-1 Diabetes

Type-1 diabetes is a serious auto-immune disease. For some unknown reason the immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin in the pancreas. When this happens the pancreas stops producing insulin. When there is no insulin to unlock the cells of the body to deal with the glucose produced by ingested carbohydrates, there is a sharp rise in blood sugar levels. This will cause serious symptoms if insulin is not giving by some other means such as injection. Diet or lifestyle does not cause Type-1 diabetes. Also scientists don’t know exactly what causes Type-1 diabetes. About 10% of people with diabetes have Type-1 diabetes.

Type-2 Diabetes

In people with Type-2 diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to deal with the amount of glucose in the blood, or the insulin it produces doesn’t work properly. This causes glucose to build up in the blood and diabetes develops. Most people with diabetes have Type-2 diabetes. According to scientists, the condition is due to a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors. Also almost half of Type-2 diabetes symptoms can be prevented or delayed through strict diet and a healthy lifestyle.

Pre-Diabetes

Also known as borderline diabetes, glucose intolerance, or impaired fasting glucose this condition occurs before Type-2 diabetes sets in. In pre-diabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to diagnose as diabetes. In this pre-diabetes phase, the pancreas produces enough insulin to deal with ingested carbohydrates. But the insulin (key) is less effective at moving the glucose from the blood to the cells. The result is that blood sugar levels remain high and causes a condition called “insulin resistance”. One in three Americans over the age of 18 are pre-diabetic. Hence this is a warning to make healthy lifestyle changes. There is a five to fifteen-fold higher risk of pre-diabetes developing into Type-2 diabetes.

Gestational and other more rare types of diabetes require proper diagnosis and management. This will minimize its serious effects on the body. A blood sugar test during pregnancy can detect gestational diabetes.

What to do if You have Signs of Diabetes?

If you have any diabetes symptoms you should immediately contact your doctor who will perform a glucose test. If there is anything for concern about, they will refer you to a specialist for further tests. Early treatment is vitally important to reduce the risks of serious complications.

Published by

Dr. Aleksandar Grbovic

Dr. Aleksandar Grbovic

Hi! My name is Aleksandar Grbovic. I’m a radiology resident with five years of experience in General Medicine. As a medical writer, I have only one goal in my mind - to bridge the gap between doctors and patients point of view by breaking down complex medical topics and presenting them in lay people language. Knowing that my writing might help someone out there connect the dots is what keeps me motivated.

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