The Warning Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
It is estimated that more than 20 million children and adults in the U.S. have some form of diabetes. This disease is characterized by the body’s inability to process the sugar you eat. This can be caused by a failure of your pancreas to create enough insulin, which is used to turn sugar into energy for your body. It can also be caused by a condition where your body is not receptive to the effects of insulin.
Everyone should be able to recognize the signs of diabetes. If not controlled, diabetes can cause more serious medical issues.
Types of Diabetes
The two most common forms of this disease are called type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 is where your body cannot produce enough insulin. This results in high blood sugar levels which can damage your body. Type 2 is where your body doesn’t respond to the insulin that it does manufacturer. Again, your blood sugar levels rise since the sugar is not being processed. Both conditions lead to a similar set of diabetes symptoms.
Common Symptoms of Diabetes
Since both types of diabetes have very similar symptoms, if you show any of these signs, see your primary care physician. They can determine which type of diabetes you have and prescribe the correct treatment. If detected and treated early, the symptoms can be minimized before becoming severe.
Many of the symptoms can have varying levels of severity. Don’t ignore any symptoms, no matter how mild. It is precisely at these lower levels that you should begin treatment to prevent them from getting worse. Some symptoms can become life-threatening if left untreated.
The most common symptoms seen with both types of diabetes include:
• increased urination
• increased thirst
• increased appetite
• increased fatigue
• changes in weight
• blurry vision
Symptoms Specific to Type 1 Diabetes
The body doesn’t make enough insulin in type 1 diabetes. Without enough insulin, your body can’t change sugar into the energy your body needs. The body then looks for other ways to create this energy, which can result in other symptoms, including dehydration and severe weight loss.
To create the energy it needs, your body will begin to break down fat cells. The breakdown of fat cells creates ketones in the blood. When this happens, the ketone levels in your blood can rise quickly, causing a condition known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). This increased acidity in your blood is fatal if not treated soon. A person showing DKA, such as a type 1 diabetic that did not take their insulin before eating, can show the following symptoms:
• hot, dry, flushed skin
• abdominal pain and vomiting
• strong fruity smell in the breath
• deep, quick breathing
• drowsiness or restlessness
When the ketone levels are very high, the person may fall unconscious and be unresponsive. This is called a diabetic coma.
Symptoms Specific to Type 2 Diabetes
These symptoms develop more slowly than the type 1 symptoms. The body may produce some insulin, but not enough. Or it may not be able to use the insulin properly to process sugar. People with type 2 diabetes may have it for a long time without knowing, since the symptoms come on more gradually. Some signs of this type of diabetes include:
• injuries, such as cuts and scrapes, take longer to heal
• itching in the area around the groin
• weight gain
• skin around the neck and groin gets darker
• eyesight gets worse
All Signs Mean Get Help
If you see any of the symptoms of type 1 or 2 diabetes, see your physician. Simple testing can determine if you have one of the forms of diabetes. The treatment is simple, and Type 2 diabetes can sometimes be controlled by diet. If not treated, severe health issues can develop, such as heart disease and loss of eyesight. The earlier treatment starts, the less likely you will have to deal with any of the more serious consequences to your health.