Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes 

As doctors, we are seeing ever-increasing numbers of diabetic patients. Whether lifestyle, stress levels, or genetics are to blame, we would like to encourage you to come see us to get tested. As with any disease, early detection will greatly improve your quality of life and chances of survival. But how can you tell if you have diabetes? Not all the symptoms are obvious, and they sometimes present in such a mild form that they go unnoticed. Most early symptoms are from increased levels of glucose in your blood. This is particularly true in the case of Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes has a faster, more severe onset. 

Early Signs of both Type 1 and Type 2 

Both types of diabetes share some of the same early warning signs. These include: 

Extreme hunger and fatigue: If your body isn’t producing enough insulin, or if your cells resist the insulin you do produce, then your cells can’t use the glucose created through digestion to give you energy. This can leave you feeling constantly tired and hungry. 

Extreme thirst and frequent urination: On average, a healthy person will urinate four to seven times per day. Diabetics need to urinate far more. In a healthy body, glucose is reabsorbed as it passes through the kidneys. When blood sugar is increased due to diabetes, the kidneys might not be able to bring it all back in, which in turn causes the body to produce more urine. This naturally requires fluids, which caused the extreme thirst. 

Blurry vision: This is called by the swelling of the lenses in your eyes as your fluid levels fluctuate. 

Itchy skin and dry mouth: As your body prioritises fluid for urination, you could suffer dehydration in other part of your body such as your mouth and skin. 

Signs of Type 1 Diabetes 

Unplanned weight loss: If your body doesn’t get energy for what you’re eating, it will burn muscle and fat for the energy it needs. This is why you’d lose weight even if you haven’t changed your diet. 

Nausea and vomiting. If your body burns fat, it makes ketones. Ketones can often make you feel nauseas. These can build up in your blood, causing a possibly life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. 

Signs of Type 2 Diabetes 

These symptoms usually present after your blood glucose has been high for some time. 

Yeast infections: These occur in both men and women. The infection feeds on glucose, and in diabetic body, the excess glucose sees yeast thrive. These infections can grow in any warm, moist folds of skin, including between fingers and toes, under breasts, and in and around genitals, 

Slow-healing sores: Constant high blood sugar can affect your circulation and cause nerve damage. This in turn retards the body’s ability to heal open wounds. 

Pain or numbness in your feet or legs: This is also caused by nerve damage. 

Diabetic Complications 

Hypoglycemia: Also known as low blood sugar occurs when your glucose levels have dropped too low to fuel your body. It could leave you feeling shaky, confused, cranky, dizzy, anxious, weak, sleepy, feverish or numb. 

You might notice that your heart rate increases, your skin gets pale, your vision blurs, you have a headache, your coordination is impaired, and you have nightmares or seizures. 

Hyperglycemia: Also known as high blood sugar, causes the same symptoms as above as well as extreme thirst, frequent urination, numb or tingling feet, weight loss, infections, fatigue, impaired healing, and a blood glucose level greater than 180mg/dl. 

When to get tested. 

If you’re over 45, or have other risk for diabetes, or are displaying any of the above symptoms, come get tested as soon as possible. Early detection means you can potentially avoid nerve damage, heart problems, and other potential complications. 

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