Diabetes is a serious health condition that affects your blood sugar levels, as the body fails to control it due to lack of insulin. Today, it is a common disease affecting people of all age groups, from infants to older adults.
Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: It is a kind of autoimmune disorder, in which your immune system damages the pancreatic cells that makes insulin.
Type 2 diabetes: In this type of diabetes, your body fails to make sufficient insulin and strives to use it normally. It is not a kind of autoimmune condition.
In this blog, we have shared significant information on sighs and symptoms of diabetes, its risk factors and treatment.
Type 1 Diabetes
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are not always very severe but it is essential to get it diagnosed early to avoid any further complications.
Some subtle symptoms of type 1 diabetes, include:
- Extreme thirst
- Increased hunger, mainly after eating
- Frequent urination
- Dry mouth
- Unexplained weight loss, even after eating properly
- Vomiting and upset stomach
- Crankiness or mood changes
- Heavy, labored breathing
- Blurry vision
- Frequent infections of your skin, urinary tract, or vagina
Signs and symptoms that indicates emergency:
- Loss of consciousness
- Belly pain
- Fruity smell to your breath
- Shaking and confusion
- Fast breathing
Note: Early diagnosis and detection of the condition can prevent the onset of severe complications.
Type 1 diabetes symptoms in infants or children
If your young baby is urinating frequently, feeling thirsty (more than usual), losing weight and feeling easily tired and ill, take them to the doctor for a type 1 diabetes diagnosis. These are the symptoms in infants that picture the onset of type 1 diabetes. If your child who stays dry at night is having bed wetting accidents again, diabetes is to be blamed.
Getting your in fact checked for diabetes is an easy task. The doctor will check for the blood sugar count in their blood. However, what makes it tricky is, understanding the signs and symptoms on time and taking the kid to the doctor for early diagnosis.
Some children are found diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) when diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. DKA is a condition when your body lacks insulin and starts building up high levels of an acid, ketones. It is a medical emergency that demands immediate care and hospitalization with IV fluids and insulin.
Even after early diagnosis and treatment, your kid’s condition will not be stable for the rest of their life. They will need frequency insulin injection to maintain the good blood sugar level.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in adults
Most adults when diagnosed with diabetes are told that they have type 2 diabetes, as it is more common in adults than infants. It needs a proper understanding of the medical condition to understand that type 1 diabetes can be diagnosed at any age. The situation gets tricky as adults with new-onset type 1 diabetes do not fall sick or see any noticeable symptoms at the initial stage. The doctor takes blood samples and sends it for lab tests; keeps the patient on diet, oral medication and exercise, until the type is confirmed.
There are also individuals who show symptoms much similar to type 2 diabetes, but later find out it to be type 1 diabetes. It even gets difficult for the brightest minds in the medical field to diagnose adults for type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms
Type two diabetes causes the blood sugar levels to increase too high and diagnosing the symptoms at the initial stage is important for immediate treatment.
Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes
The early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
1. Excessive urination
As your blood sugar levels rise, the kidneys start removing the excessive sugar by filtering your blood. This can lead to a feeling an urge to urinate more often, specifically at night.
2. Increased thirst
When you start urinating frequently, the body loses its water content faster and you feel more thirsty than usual. If not checked on time, it can lead to dehydration.
3. Always hungry
You will have that constant urge to eat something, even just after having a meal. It happens because the digestive system breaks down the food into glucose, which works as fuel for the body. When you have diabetes, enough glucose elements doesn’t move through your bloodstream into the cells of the body.
This messed up digestive system, makes you deal with constant hunger pangs, regardless of when you had your last meal.
4. Feeling tired
This type of diabetes impacts your energy levels adversely and makes you feel excessively tired and fatigued. It is the result of insufficient amounts of sugar flowing through the bloodstream to your body cells.
5. Blurry vision
Excessive amounts of sugar in your blood can affect the small blood vessels in your eye, which further leads to a blurry vision. This blurry vision occurs in either of the eyes or both. If you don’t get checked for type 2 diabetes soon, you might have permanent blindness as the symptoms get severe.
6. Slow healing of wound sand cuts
High blood sugar levels can destroy the nerves and blood vessels of your body, impairing blood circulation. So, even small wounds and cuts take weeks to heal and it puts you at risk of infection.
7. Numbness, tingling or pain in feet or hands
With increasing blood sugar levels, blood circulation in the body gets affected and damages the nerves of your body. People having type 2 diabetes can experience pain, tingling or numbness in the feet and hands. The condition is termed neuropathy and it can worsen with the passing time and result in more serious complications, if you don’t get treated on time.
8. Dark skin patches
You notice dark skin patches developing on the creases of armpit, neck or groin, signifying a higher risk of diabetes. These dark patches feel velvety and soft. The condition is called acanthosis nigricans
9. Itching and yeast infections
Excess sugar in your urine and blood becomes food for yeast, which further results in infection. Yeast infections generally occur on moist and warm areas of the skin, like genital areas, mouth and armpits.
The area affected is mostly itchy. However, you might also see redness, burning and soreness.
Significance of early diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
When you identify early symptoms of type 2 diabetes, it allows you to seek immediate diagnosis and treatment. Getting on-time and good treatment, switching to a healthy lifestyle and controlling your blood sugar can help you live a healthy life, with minimum complications.
But, when you ignore these symptoms of diabetes, you are highly at risk of developing serious health complications, such as:
- Heart disease
- Nerve damage, or neuropathy
- Foot problems
- Kidney disease, which can result in a person needing dialysis
- Eye disease or loss of vision
- Sexual problems in both women and men
When left untreated, diabetes can lead to HHNS (Hyperosmolar Hyperglycemic Nonketotic Syndromne). It is a condition that leads to serious and continuous increase in your blood sugar levels. An illness or infection can result in the condition of HHNS, which demands hospitalization. This condition usually affects older adults.
By keeping your blood sugar levels in control, you can prevent most of these serious complications. The longer you avoid the symptoms, the more you are at risk of health issues.
Risk factors of type 2 diabetes
People of any age can have type 2 diabetes, but there are some peculiar factors that puts you on a higher risk, such as:
- being 45 years of age or older
- being overweight or obese
- eating an unhealthy diet
- living a sedentary lifestyle
- a family history of diabetes
- having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- medical history of gestational diabetes, heart disease, or stroke
- having prediabetes
- being of African American, Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander descent
Diabetes during pregnancy
Also called as pregestational diabetes, it is a condition when a woman shows symptoms of diabetes before getting pregnant. However, there are also woman who show diabetes symptoms only during pregnancy, which is called gestational diabetes. Due to pregnancy, there are changes in the ways a woman uses glucose. It worsens the condition of diabetes and can sometimes even lead to gestational diabetes.
Causes of diabetes during pregnancy
There’s an organ placenta that transfers nutrients and oxygen to the baby growing inside the womb. The placenta is also responsible for making hormones. During late pregnancy, the hormones cortisol, estrogen and human placental lactogen blocks insulin. So, when insulin is blocked, it leads to insulin resistance. Glucose fails to reach the body cells and stays in the bloodstream, leading to high levels of blood sugar.
Woman at risk of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
The risk factors for diabetes during pregnancy are based on the type of diabetes:
- Women who are overweight have type 2 diabetes
- Women who had gestational diabetes before
- Woman who have a family history of type 2 diabetes
- Woman carrying twins or multiples
Symptoms of diabetes during pregnancy
There are no specific symptoms of diabetes in pregnant women. It is same as tyoe 1 or type 2 diabetes. Moreover, there are woman who don’t realize they have diabetes until they go for checkup.
Diagnosis of diabetes during pregnancy
Almost all non-diabetic expectant mothers are diagnosed for gestational diabetes sometime between the 24 weeks and 28 weeks of their gestation period. Your doctor will perform a glucose screening test, where you drink a glucose drink and then the doctor records your blood glucose levels after almost two hours.
If the test results report high glucose level, a 3-hour glucose tolerance test is performed. If the reports of this test are not normal, you have gestational diabetes.
Treatment of diabetes during pregnancy
Treatment of diabetes in pregnant woman depends on various factors like the symptoms, general health, her age and the severity of the disease.
If you are pregnant and diagnosed with gestational diabetes, you doctor will treat your condition to bring down the blood glucose levels to the normal range. You should include healthy food for diabetes in your diet to control any serious complications. The treatment methods include:
A healthy diet including low-carb foods and drinks
- Insulin injections
- Monitoring blood glucose levels
- Oral medications for conditions of hyperglycemia
- Complications of diabetes during pregnancy
Most complications are seen in women who have pregestational diabetes while they are pregnant. The main complications include:
- Frequent need for insulin injections
- Ketoacidosis from high levels of blood glucose, which might lead to life-threatening issues if not treated on time
- Unexplainable fall in blood glucose levels, which can lead to severe effects.
Woman having gestational diabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes post delivery or much later in life. They might also be at risk of getting diabetes during their next pregnancy. In case you have diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), get checked after a few months of delivery and again after 3 years.
Handling the conditions of diabetes during pregnancy
If you are diagnosed with diabetes during pregnancy, your baby will go through special testing and monitoring, specifically when you are taking insulin.
Some of the tests include:
- Fetal movement counting: It involves counting the number of kicks or movements of the fetus in a particular period of time. Your doctor looks for any change in the activity of the fetus.
- Ultrasound: It is an imaging test that with help of sound waves creates images of the organs, blood tissues and blood vessels on the computer screen. You doctor will perform ultrasound to see the internal organs of the baby and record the blood flow.
- Biophysical profile: It is a combination of tests such as, ultrasound and non-stress test to check for the heart rate, amniotic fluid and movements of the baby.
- Nonstress testing: This test measures the heart rate of the fetus as a response to the movements.
- Doppler flow studies: A type of ultrasound that measures the blood flow using sound waves.
The Bottom Line
Diabetes is a serious health condition that can affect you adversely, leading to complications like heart disease, stroke, etc. So, make sure you identify the early signs and symptoms of diabetes and see your doctor for immediate diagnosis.