Early Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes, the full name of which is diabetes mellitus or DM, is a metabolic disease that results in high levels of blood sugar. Even though this is a chronic disease, it, if left untreated, may lead to disastrous consequences, such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, damage to the eyes, and foot ulcers.

Basically, diabetes is a condition that causes the inability of your body to remove sugar from the blood. That happens either due to the body’s inability to produce insulin, a hormone used to move sugar from your blood, or its inability to make use of the insulin it produces.

Types

At the present time, there are 3 common types of diabetes, as well as one “pre-diabetes” stage. Here you can see the types of this disease:

  • Prediabetes. This condition occurs when the blood sugar levels are elevated, yet the condition is not bad enough for making a diagnosis of diabetes type 2.
  • Type 2 diabetes. This happens when your body is resistant to the hormone of insulin and, thus, isn’t able to remove sugar (which, in a result, piles up in your blood) from your blood.
  • Type 1 diabetes. This is an autoimmune disease, which causes the cells of your immune system to attack and destroy cells in your pancreas, an organ that produces insulin. Currently, it is not known what causes these attacks. At the present time, around 10% of people suffering from diabetes have the type 1 of this disease.
  • Gestational diabetes. Placenta produces insulin-blocking hormones during the pregnancy, which, thus, elevate the overall levels of sugar in the blood.

Symptoms

The difficulty of diagnosing this illness happens exactly because the entire “picture” may be too general. There are symptoms which may be different for various forms of this disease, as well as different symptoms for men and women. Here, we will list all of them.

General symptoms:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Sores that don’t heal.

Symptoms that happen to women:

  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Yeast infections
  • Urinary tract infections.

Symptoms that happen to men:

  • Poor muscle strength
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decreased sex drive.

Typical symptoms of type 2 diabetes:

  • Tiredness
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent (increased) hunger
  • Sores that heal slowly.

Typical symptoms of type 1 diabetes:

  • Tiredness
  • Blurry vision
  • Frequent urination
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Increased thirst
  • Extreme hunger.

Causes & Risks

Same as with symptoms, causes and risks of different forms of this illness may vary, too. That is why we will also provide different explanations for each form.

Type 1 diabetes: In the case of this autoimmune condition, cells of the immune system start attacking insulin-producing cells of the pancreas, thus making it impossible for the body to remove sugar from the blood. Scientists and doctors haven’t figured out the exact cause of this condition yet. There is a common understanding that genetics may play a part in the development of this disease. Also, there is a theory that viruses may trigger a response from the immune system, which would damage the pancreas in this way.

Type 2 diabetes. Common risk factors include:

  • Obesity (especially having a large belly)
  • Genetics (family members may share genes that may make them more likely to be obese and have diabetes)
  • Lifestyle factors (drinking, smoking, eating a lot of red meat and not exercising enough).

Gestational diabetes: This type of diabetes is a result of changes during the pregnancy. Obese women or those who gain a lot of weight during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing this condition.

Treatment

Diabetes type 1: insulin injections are the only way to contain the disease.

Diabetes type 2: diet and exercise are a possible way to improve the condition. If this doesn’t help or you don’t change your lifestyle fast enough, you will likely have to take medications.

Gestational diabetes: it is necessary to monitor your blood sugar levels at least a few times per day during the pregnancy. Exercising and dietary changes may help. In 10%-20% of cases, however, taking insulin medically is necessary.

Complications

Despite being a chronic disease, diabetes may oftentimes be deadly and/or cause irreparable consequences, such as:

  • Nephropathy
  • Neuropathy
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack and heart disease
  • Vision loss
  • Retinopathy
  • Hearing loss
  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Foot damaged.

Diabetes