Diabetes mellitus, generally known as diabetes, is a metabolic disease characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. As of 2014, about 387 million people worldwide suffered from diabetes.
Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is either not producing enough insulin or the cells aren’t capable of respond correctly to the insulin produced. There are three major types of diabetes:
Type 1 diabetes: Also called juvenile diabetes, it occurs when the pancreas isn’t capable of produce enough insulin.
It’s considered an autoimmune disease. Factors that increase the chance of Type 1 diabetes are family history, exposure to viral illnesses, the presence of damaging immune system cells in the body, and low vitamin D levels.
Type 2 diabetes: This is the most typical type of diabetes and occurs when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to control the blood sugar or the cells aren’t in a position to use the insulin properly.
Obesity, an inactive way of life, family history, getting older, history of gestational diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, hypertension, and abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels are some common risk factors for this type of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes: This occurs during or after pregnancy without any prior historical past of diabetes. Women older than age 25 and those who are African-American, Hispanic, American Indian or Asian are at a higher risk of developing gestational diabetes.
Family or private history of this type of diabetes and obesity also increase a person’s risk.
As of 2014, about 90 % of diabetic people had Type 2 diabetes, representing 8.3 % of the grownup population. Each women and men suffer from Type 2 diabetes equally.
Diabetes is usually called a silent killer because of its easy-to-miss symptoms. Most often, people don’t even know that they have diabetes as early signs sometimes seem harmless.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent critical problems, which include heart problems, nerve harm, kidney damage, eye damage, foot harm, skin issues and pregnancy complications.
Listed below are the top 10 early warning signs of diabetes you shouldn’t ignore.
1. Frequent and/or Excessive Urination
One of many earliest signs of each Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is frequent urination with an abnormally large amount of urine. In medical terms, this classic sign is named polyuria.
When you have diabetes, excess sugar (glucose) builds up in your blood. The kidneys must work really hard to filter and soak up all that extra glucose.
During this time, the excess glucose will get excreted into the urine, absorbing fluids drawn from your tissues. This results in abnormally excessive urine output.
A persistent need to urinate, especially if you have to get up at night to use the toilet, is something that you need to take seriously and consult your doctor immediately.
2. Feeling More Thirsty
Extreme thirst is likely one of the first noticeable signs of diabetes. Due to frequent urination, the body becomes dehydrated, making you feel very thirsty.
In case you drink sugary beverages like juice, soda or chocolate milk to quench this thirst, more sugar enters the body resulting in more thirst.
If the reason behind frequent thirst is high blood sugar levels, drinking will not satisfy the thirst. This isn’t the case when the issue is due to allergies, the flu, the common cold, fever or dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhea.
If you’re feeling abnormally thirsty and drinking water doesn’t satisfy your thirst, consult your doctor.
3. Hunger Pangs
Having frequent hunger pangs is one other sign of diabetes. When people suffer from diabetes, they really feel more hungry than ordinary and tend to eat more. This happens because the body can’t regulate glucose that your cells use for vitality.
When the cells are deprived of glucose, your body automatically looks for more sources of fuel, causing persistent hunger.
As well as, eating more won’t eliminate the feeling of hunger in people with undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes, as this will simply further elevate the blood sugar level.
So, eating more will only exacerbate the problem. Speak with your doctor if excessive hunger continues for a prolonged length of time.
An increase in hunger may also be the result of other issues, such as depression or stress that may require treatment.
4. Slow Wound Healing
Cuts and scrapes heal slowly in a diabetic person as compared to a person who doesn’t have this condition.
Excessive blood sugar hardens the arteries, making the blood vessels narrower than ordinary. This causes much less blood flow and oxygen to a wounded area, hence taking more time for the wound to heal.
In addition, elevated blood sugar has a direct impact on the functions of red blood cells that carry vitamins to the tissues. This additionally slows the healing of wounds.
Aside from slow healing, the wound can become an ulcer or turn into infected. Therefore, wounds, no matter how small, require close monitoring.
Be sure to consult your doctor quickly in case your wound turns into infected or doesn’t heal.
5. Recurring Infections
High blood sugar makes people highly susceptibile to different types of infections. The commonest sites of an infection in diabetic patients are the skin and urinary tract.
Diabetics suffer from frequent infections, and generally the infection recurs. This mainly happens due to a weakened immune system.
A 2012 research revealed in the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism reports that infectious diseases are more prevalent in people with diabetes.
Based on this research, a hyperglycemic environment increases the virulence of some pathogens, thus causing infections.
If you happen to keep getting infections, it is important to get checked for diabetes. A easy blood check is enough to know your health status.
6. Unexplained Weight Loss
While weight problems is a danger factor for diabetes, shedding kilos without even trying is a sign of the illness. Weight loss in such cases happens mainly for two reasons– excess water loss in the body due to frequent urination and the body isn’t capable of absorbing calories from the sugar in the blood.
In addition, insufficient insulin compels the body to break down protein from the muscles as an alternate source of fuel, causing a drop in body weight.
In both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, one of the earliest signs is fairly dramatic weight loss.
Rapid, unexplained weight loss isn’t healthy and requires further investigation. Therefore, make sure to consult your doctor.
7. General Fatigue and Weakness
Fatigue is one of the most typical diabetes signs that may disrupt and interfere with all aspects of every day living.
Because of high blood glucose levels, the body just isn’t in a position to respond correctly to the insulin and even the cells can’t absorb the blood glucose. This leads to fatigue and weakness despite eating properlyand enjoying adequate sleep.
Additionally, because of poor blood circulation, the cells don’t get the required oxygen and vitamins to keep your body energetic. In addition, high blood glucose causes inflammation, which leads to fatigue.
A 2014 research revealed in Diabetes Care reports that chronic fatigue is highly prevalent and clinically relevant in people suffering from Type I diabetes.
Take note of ongoing fatigue and consult your doctor to rule out the potential of diabetes or another critical health situation.
8. Tingling Sensations and Numbness
Tingling sensations as well as numbness in the hands, fingers, legs and feet are also warning signs of diabetes. High blood glucose levels restrict proper blood flow to the extremities, which in turn damages the nerve fibers. The issue can become severe, in the end interfering with your daily routine or your sleep.
If high sugar levels are not controlled in time, it can lead to peripheral arterial disease, which is due to poor circulation, or diabetic peripheral neuropathy, due to nerve damage.
Get checked by your doctor in case you are experiencing tingling and loss of sensation in your hands and feet, as well as burning pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet.
9. Itchy, Dry Skin
As diabetes causes poor circulation, the sweat glands become dysfunctional, which in turn results in excessively dry skin.
Along with dryness, your skin may become excessively itchy. This occurs due to a yeast infection, dry skin or poor circulation and mostly affects the lower parts of the legs.
Diabetes might even cause dark skin patches in the folds of your skin around the armpits, neck and groin area. Frequent urination and perpetual state of thirst also contribute to dry and itchy skin.
In case your skin still feels dry and itchy, despite using hydrating creams and lotions, seek the advice of your doctor to find out the underlying cause.
10. Blurry and Fuzzy Vision
If suddenly your vision gets blurry and you are having difficulty focusing and not able to see fine details, it can be due to high blood glucose levels.
Excessive blood sugar leads to changes in the body’s fluid levels. This in turn causes the lenses in your eyes to swell up, affecting your ability to focus. Once the blood sugar level returns to normal, this vision problem resolves.
However, if left undiagnosed, diabetes may cause new blood vessels to form in your retina, leading to more critical eye issues like cataracts, glaucoma and retinopathy.
Although blurry vision could also be a sign of diabetes, other common causes are glaucoma, dry eyes, nearsightedness, low blood pressure, an eye infection and even some kind of eye injury. It’s important to have any vision problems evaluated by a specialist.