The American Diabetes Association reports that there are around 7 million Americans with undiagnosed diabetes. Because of this, it is crucial to understand the possible symptoms of the disease, ensuring that you will be diagnosed and treated early.
In some cases, someone with diabetes will not even show symptoms and in other cases the symptoms may be seem harmless or be incredibly subtle, which is especially true in the case of type 2 diabetes. If you have any of the symptoms listed below, you should visit your doctor.
1. Increased Urination and Excessive Thirst
Both increased urination and excessive thirst are some of the most classic symptoms of diabetes. That is because people with diabetes will have an excess amount of sugar (glucose) in their blood. When this happens, the kidneys need to work harder in order to both filter and reabsorb this extra sugar. When the kidneys aren’t able to process all of it, the sugar will be excreted into the urine, combining with fluids that come from other tissues. This means that you will need to urinate more frequently and in some cases that can cause dehydration, which causes the excessive thirst.
2. Fatigue and Irritability
Some people with diabetes will feel fatigue because of several reasons. The most common reason for the fatigue is the body being dehydrated (due to the increased urination) and its inability to properly function (as it isn’t able to use sugar as well for energy needs). The problem is that when you are tired, you will generally become irritable.
3. Weight Loss
Rapid weight loss is a possible symptom of diabetes, especially for those with type 1 diabetes. That is because losing sugar by urinating frequently also leads to losing calories. The other issue is that sometimes diabetes will prevent sugar that you consume from reaching the various cells in your body which makes you hungry.
4. Blurred Vision
Sometimes diabetes can also blur your vision. This occurs because blood sugar will build up in high levels and bring fluid from the various tissues in your body, including your eye lenses, affecting the ability to focus. In some cases, untreated diabetes can also lead to the formation of new blood vessels in the retina and cause damage to the established vessels. Although this will not usually cause vision problems, they can eventually lead to partial vision loss or even blindness.
5. Frequent Infections and Slow Healing
Both people who suffer from diabetes as well as doctors have noticed that people with the disease tend to get more infections. Despite this, research still hasn’t proved if this actually occurs and why. One theory is that the increased blood sugar levels mean your body isn’t able to fight infections and naturally heal as well. Vaginal and bladder infections are also more common in women.
6. Tingling and Itching
Sometimes an excessive amount of blood sugar can cause nerve damage. If this happens, you can experience loss of sensation or tingling in your feet and hands. You may also feel a burning pain in your feet, legs, hands and arms. Some people will also notice that itchiness of the skin is a symptom of diabetes.
7. Red and Swollen Gums
Sometimes diabetes will weaken the body’s ability for fighting germs and this increases your risk of an infection affecting the gums or the bones that are responsible for keeping the teeth in place. In some cases you can develop pockets of pus or sores in the gums, the teeth might become loose or the gums might start pulling away from the teeth. This is especially true for those who have gum infections before they develop diabetes.
8. Intense Hunger
When you have diabetes, the insulin found in your blood will not function correctly or may not exist. When this happens, your cells will not be able to get the energy they need and your body will respond by searching for more energy in the form of food, triggering your hunger.
9. Yeast Infection
When you have diabetes you are immunosuppressed. This means that you will have an increased vulnerability to multiple different types of infections. The most common infections for diabetics to develop include fungal infections as well as yeast infections (known as candida). That is because both bacteria and fungi thrive in environments that are rich in sugar. If you are a woman with diabetes, you need to be especially careful and keep an eye out to make sure you don’t have a vaginal candida infection.
In some cases, people with diabetes who are more than 50 years old will experience sexual dysfunction (such as erectile dysfunction) which can be anywhere from frequent to constant.
Here is a video that talks about diabetes symptoms:
Notes: It is important that you listen to your body carefully and keep an eye out for any signs or symptoms of diabetes. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Remember that it is crucial to get diagnosed as soon as possible as this will allow you to begin treatment much sooner. Keep in mind that although diabetes is a very serious condition, it is very possible to manage it and enjoy a life that is healthy and active. The important thing is to find a supportive health care team and to actively participate in the process, following the advice of your health care professional and making healthy lifestyle decisions.