The body needs glucose to be able to do things like thinking, see well, and keep the heart beating properly. Sometimes the body cannot use glucose right away, so it stores some of the extra glucose in the liver and muscles. If you have type 1 diabetes, the symptoms will begin suddenly. If you have type 2 diabetes, you will notice that you feel tired and thirsty, then pass more urine than normal, before it develops very rapidly.
With type 1 diabetes, the symptoms usually happen quickly, in a matter of days or a few weeks. They are much more severe, too. That is because when it happens to you, your body stops making insulin to control sugar in the blood and turns to sugar for fuel. Without enough insulin, your body burns sugar as if you were starving. The body uses glucose for energy instead of relying on insulin to help it use fat for energy. This can result in loss of fat and muscle, also known as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Early Signs of Diabetes
Diabetes can affect someone at any age. We have put together a list of the most common symptoms of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Peeing more often and thirstier
A big early symptom of diabetes is peeing a lot and being thirsty. You may even notice that you pee in the middle of the night. If you are going to the washroom too often, this can happen because your body makes too much urine. If what you have drunk and eaten has been turned into glucose, then your body has to make more pee. If you notice any of these warning signs, you should ask your doctor to test your blood sugar and check for diabetes.
Blurred vision is an early sign of diabetes. This happens because the lenses in your eyes swell up when you have high blood sugar. You may notice this occurs more quickly if you have not eaten in a while. This can cause headaches and lead to a condition called diplopia or double vision.
Hunger and fatigue
You may have tiredness or hunger that lasts longer than usual, or you may lose weight. Other early symptoms include- feeling tired, going to the washroom more often than usual, and taking a lot of thirsts. These symptoms can make it harder to stick with your diabetes management plan.
Itchy Skin and Dry mouth
Saliva and sweat may taste sweet when your blood sugar gets high. You might also notice that you have to urinate more often, or that your skin itches more than usual. Your body uses fluids to make pee, so you may get dehydrated. This can cause a dry mouth and itchy skin.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Understanding the symptoms of Type 1 diabetes can help you manage your health. By knowing what to look out for, you will be more likely to spot problems early and take action quickly. Keep checking your blood glucose levels regularly to help keep them at a healthy level.
Sudden Weight Loss
Your body makes up for this loss of energy by burning muscle and fat. You may lose weight even though you have not changed how you eat or have worked out less.
Many people who have type 1 diabetes lose weight at first because their bodies cannot use the food they eat for energy. You may need to eat more than usual to replace the energy you are losing.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are the classic early symptoms of diabetes. They happen when your body, in an attempt to shed extra glucose, produces large amounts of ketones.
Blood sugar levels in a person who is eating will rise briefly about an hour after meals, which can trigger nausea and make it worse. If nausea is persistent or debilitating, it should be reported to the doctor.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
The symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes tend to show up later than in Type 1 Diabetes. The first symptom may be blurred vision caused by damage to the blood vessels in the retina. High glucose also leads to nerve damage (neuropathy). These are caused by very high glucose levels over a long period.
Yeast infections are not limited to women, as men get them too. If you have diabetes, yeast can thrive in warm, moist folds of skin.
- Under breasts
- In or around sex organs
- Between fingers and toes
Pain or numbness in your feet or legs
It is important to catch diabetes symptoms early. Untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness, and kidney problems. For example, nerve damage in the feet often leads to pain or numbness in the feet or legs.
Slow-healing sores or cuts
Slower healing can make even small cuts and sores – like those on the bottoms of your feet – take longer to get better. Diabetes can make it harder to heal cuts and wounds. As the disease progresses, wounds feel numb or tingle, or do not heal well.
Warning Signs of Diabetes Complications
Signs of type 2 diabetes complications may include:
- Decreased vision
- Recent weight gain
- Frequent yeast infections
- Slow-healing sores or cuts
- Impotence or erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
- Itchy skin (usually around the vaginal or groin area)
- Velvety, dark skin changes of the neck, armpit, and groin, called acanthosis nigricans
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can happen when the level of sugar or glucose in your blood drops too low to fuel the body. You might feel shaky, nervous or anxious, sweaty, chilly or clammy, cranky and impatient, confused, lightheaded or dizzy, hungry, sleepy and weak, tingly or numb in your lips, tongue, or cheeks.
You might notice:
- Pale skin
- Blurred vision
- Fast heartbeat
- Coordination problems
- Nightmares or crying when you sleep
When you have diabetes, the amount of sugar in your blood is too high. This can cause you to urinate a lot and can make you feel tired. When blood glucose levels go too high, it is called hyperglycemia.
Blood glucose over 180 mg/dl is considered high blood sugar. This hyperglycemia causes many of the warning signs listed above, including heavy thirst, blurry vision, peeing a lot, and more hunger.
Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes
Many women do not notice they have high blood sugar. The first signs and symptoms of gestational diabetes are similar to having mild illness and feeling tired. You might feel a little thirstier than normal or have to pee more often. Gestational diabetes causes high blood sugar during pregnancy. Diet, exercise, and medicine can help you have a healthy baby.
Diabetic coma may be a common diabetic symptom that many people with diabetes experience at some point. No one likes to talk about it, but it is important to understand the signs of this dangerous condition and how to manage it properly. Being aware of the symptoms of a hyperosmolar hyperglycaemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS) is essential to preventing and addressing the effects as soon as possible. If you have diabetes, here are some symptoms to be on the lookout for so you can seek emergency care.
If your blood sugar is 600 mg/dl or higher, you can be in a diabetic coma. A diabetic coma is a very serious condition! Signs of this condition include dry, parched mouth; extreme thirst; warm, dry skin that does not sweat; high fever (over 101 F); sleepiness or confusion; vision loss; hallucinations and weakness on one side of your body. If your blood sugar reaches 300 mg/dl, try to get someone else to check your blood sugar level often, because you might reach a diabetic coma.
When to Call Your Doctor
Spotting diabetes early is an important first step toward managing the disease. If you are older than 45, or if you already have other risks for the condition, such as being overweight or having high blood pressure, talk with your doctor about getting tested. If you spot it early, you can avoid nerve damage, heart trouble, and other complications.
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