Do you feel anxious about the possibility of you, your child, or anyone you know having diabetes? Keep reading the following article to learn about diabetes symptoms in detail.
Diabetes is a group of diseases affecting how the body uses glucose, the primary energy source for the brain and the cells that comprise the muscles and tissues.
Most diabetes signs and symptoms occur due to high glucose levels in the blood, above the normal level. Therefore, not all individuals experience the same symptoms, and some may not experience any symptoms at all, especially those with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes.
The following is a detailed explanation of the diabetes symptoms:
Early (warning) signs
The early symptoms and signs can be mild to the point where the patient may not notice them, and they may only discover their condition through long-term complications caused by the disease. Here are the most prominent ones:
1- Increased hunger and fatigue
Diabetic patients experience more hunger and fatigue than usual. This is because the body converts the consumed food into glucose, which the cells use for energy.
However, if the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells become resistant to the insulin produced, glucose cannot reach the cells, and the body does not receive the required energy.
2- Frequent urination and excessive thirst
Normal people urinate between 4 – 7 times within 24 hours. However, when someone has diabetes, they experience frequent urination.
This is because the body reabsorbs glucose as it passes through the kidneys. But when glucose levels in the blood are high, the kidneys cannot reabsorb it, resulting in increased urine production. As a result, the patient urinates more frequently than usual and feels excessively thirsty.
3- Dry mouth and itchy skin
Diabetic patients may experience dryness due to increased urination, which can cause itching of the skin and dryness of the mouth.
4- Blurred vision
Changing fluid levels in the body can cause swelling of the lenses in the eyes, resulting in blurry and unclear vision.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and can occur at any age, but it usually affects adults, especially those over 40 years old.
Symptoms of this type often take several years, and some individuals may not notice any symptoms.
Here are some symptoms associated with Type 2 diabetes, which tend to appear after high glucose levels persist for a long time:
1- Recurrent yeast infections
Yeast feeds on glucose, so high levels of glucose in the blood promote its growth, particularly in moist and warm areas of the skin folds, including:
- Between the fingers and toes.
- Beneath the breasts.
- Around the genital area.
2- Slow healing of wounds or sores
Over time, elevated blood sugar levels affect blood flow and cause nerve damage, making wound healing slow and difficult.
3- Pain and numbness in the feet and legs
Patients may also experience pain and numbness in their feet and legs due to nerve damage.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes typically appears in children, adolescents, and younger adults, although people of all ages can develop it.
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes tend to occur within a few weeks or months and can be severe. Some of these symptoms include:
1- Unintentional weight loss
When the body cannot obtain energy from food, it burns fat and muscles. As a result, patients may experience weight loss despite no changes in their diet.
2- Vomiting and nausea
The body produces ketones when it burns fat, and their accumulation can lead to a serious condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, which causes nausea and vomiting.
This condition can also cause bad breath, difficulty breathing, and stomach pain.
Gestational Diabetes Symptoms
There are no symptoms of high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. However, some women may experience slightly increased thirst and more frequent urination.
Doctors usually perform a gestational diabetes test between weeks 24 and 28 to ensure the mother’s health and confirm the absence of gestational diabetes.
When to Contact a Doctor?
Dear reader, make sure to contact a doctor if you experience the following symptoms of diabetes:
- Excessive thirst.
- Frequent urination, especially at night.
- Unexplained weight loss.
- Blurry vision.
- Nausea or severe abdominal pain.
- The presence of a breath odor resembling nail polish remover.
It is also essential to consult a doctor if you are 45 years old or older and have risk factors for diabetes. Early diagnosis and proper treatment can help prevent serious complications of diabetes.