Diabetes is known as the silent killer for good reason.
Many people with type 2 diabetes can go months, even years without knowing it.
That’s because unlike type 1 diabetes which usually hits hard and quickly, symptoms for type 2 diabetes are often extremely mild.
Sometimes, there are no signs at all.
It’s not until long-term damage has been caused that symptoms of diabetes emerge and sufferers become aware all too late.
This can lead to heart disease, kidney disease and stroke.
The early warning signs
Being thirstier and urinating more often – The average person urinates between 4 and 7 times in 24 hours but diabetes sufferers go a lot more often. That’s because their kidneys are struggling to absorb all of the sugar in their blood. It starts a vicious cycle of their bodies making more urine and then feeling the need to replace that fluid.
Hunger and fatigue – Your body converts food to sugars to feed your cells energy. Those cells need insulin to absorb sugar for energy. If your body isn’t making enough insulin, the sugar isn’t absorbed making you hungrier and fatigued.
Dry mouth and itchy skin – All that fluid your body is losing can leave you with a dry mouth and dry and itchy skin.
Blurred vision – Your changing fluid levels can make the lenses in your eyes swell, making it difficult to focus.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes
These symptoms only tend to present after your body has been overloaded with glucose for a long time.
Yeast infections – This can afflict men and women. Yeast feeds on glucose, hence why it thrives and appears around any warm, moist folds of skin. This includes between fingers and toes, under breasts and in and around genitalia.
Cuts, sores or wounds slow to heal – High blood sugar affects blood flow and can cause nerve damage making it harder for wounds to heal.
Pain or numbness in feet or legs – This also relates to nerve damage.
Symptoms of Type 1 diabetes
These symptoms tend to present quite quickly and usually include:
Unexplained weight loss – When your body can’t get enough energy from food, it will turn to other sources and start burning your own muscle and fat instead. Sufferers often lose weight without changing their diet.
Nausea and vomiting – As your body starts to burn fat, it makes ketones which are basically alternative fuels for your body. These ketones can quickly build up to dangerous levels, culminating in a potentially life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). Symptoms of DKA include a fruity, sugary odour on the breath, difficulty breathing and vomiting. This can lead to stupor, unconsciousness and if untreated, death.
People with type 1 diabetes who begin taking insulin can sometimes enjoy a period where it seems their condition has resolved. This can last anywhere from a week to a year. But it is a false dawn with their symptoms returning as soon as their pancreas is unable to secrete any more insulin.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
High blood sugar during pregnancy is often not accompanied by symptoms. But you may feel thirstier or have to urinate more often. Your doctor will track your glucose levels and treat you accordingly.
If left untreated, it can cause premature or still birth.
The condition normally disappears after birth but you are more prone to developing diabetes later in life.
Book an appointment
Diabetes can be a very nasty and even fatal disease if left untreated.
But with early diagnosis and dedicated management, those who are diagnosed can enjoy lives as close to normal as possible.
If you are suffering any of the symptoms listed above, it is wise to visit your GP for an assessment.
To book an appointment at Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or the Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic, please click here.