To learn about the symptoms of Diabetes you need to first understand what diabetes is. To understand diabetes, it is necessary to know about insulin and its function.
Insulin is a key hormone that breaks down the food we consume to create energy, and it is produced by the pancreas. The inability to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to high levels of glucose in the blood known as hyperglycaemia. High glucose levels can damage the body and lead to the failure of various organs and tissues. The inability to produce insulin by the pancreas or to make use of the insulin it produces is known as diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease categorised into three types – type 1, type 2 and gestational.
Type 1 diabetes is common in children and adolescents and can potentially develop at any age.
Type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people and accounts for nearly 90% of all diabetes cases.
Gestational diabetes (GDM) on the other hand is a type of diabetes observed in only women during pregnancy and can affect the child.
According to WHO, 1.5 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes every year and 422 million people worldwide have diabetes. There are some signs and symptoms of diabetes not always obvious, especially for type 2 diabetes however, knowing what signs to look for can help in early diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
Here are 7 signs and symptoms of diabetes:
1. Frequent urination and excessive thirst
Kidneys remove excess sugar by filtering the blood. If you have diabetes there is an excess level of sugar in the blood. They maintain the required sugar level, and their kidneys tend to overwork leading to frequent urination, especially at night. Due to excessive urination the body feels dehydrated leaving you feeling thirsty more than usual.
Diabetes affects your body’s ability to utilise glucose for energy. Due to insufficient sugar levels, you feel fatigued despite consuming food. This is a very common symptom of type 2 diabetes.
3. Excessive hunger and rapid weight loss
Since your body is unable to utilise the glucose from the food for energy, you may feel constantly hungry during the course of the day. Combined with frequent urination, the body loses more calories than usual leading to rapid weight loss. If you experience Excessive hunger and notice rapid weight loss do visit your doctor for possibilities of diabetes.
4. Frequent infections and slow-healing wounds.
Poor blood flow due to high glucose levels in the blood hinders your body’s natural healing tendencies. If you notice slow-healing cuts or sores, especially on the feet, this could be the onset of diabetes. Women may notice excessive vaginal yeast discharge leading to frequent infections as a sign of diabetes.
5. Poor gum health
As diabetes affects your body’s ability to fight germs and infections you may notice loose teeth or receding gums. In severe cases, you may develop infections causing sores or pockets of pus in your gums. Maintain good oral health. Visit a doctor if you experience gum problems frequently.
6. Blurry vision
Blurry vision caused due to diabetes can easily go undetected. However, if untreated, it can progress into loss of vision. Due to high fluctuation of blood sugar levels, the shape of your eye’s lens, blood vessels and nerves in the eye gets affected causing blurry vision. It can also cause abnormal growth of the retina’s blood vessels or even leakage of existing vessels leading to Diabetic retinopathy.
It is important to get a proper diagnosis to avoid loss of vision.
7. Tingling sensation or shooting pain in your hands and feet
High glucose affects the nerves in our body. There are many indicators of damaged nerves such as a tingling sensation or numbness in your hands and feet or shooting pain in your arms, and legs. If you experience any of these signs frequently it is advisable to visit your doctor.
Diabetes is a serious condition and can happen to anyone at any age. If you are experiencing any of the above-mentioned signs or have a family history of diabetes, it is important to take your body’s hints seriously and get tested at a hospital near you.
At A.J. Hospital we have a dedicated department for diabetic care to monitor and manage sugar levels related illnesses. Book an appointment at A.J Hospital in Mangalore today.