9 early symptoms to detect diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that affects the level of insulin in your body and, as a result, your blood sugar levels too. Some early symptoms of diabetes are often overlooked or dismissed as harmless. However, if left untreated, diabetes can not only lower quality of life, it can also weaken the body through secondary diseases such as kidney failure and other serious complications. Ultimately, it can also reduce life expectancy. This is why it is so important to look out for early warning signs in order to diagnose and treat the illness as soon as possible.
There are two types of the disease: Type 1 diabetes is often diagnosed in childhood. This is where the body is unable to produce any insulin on its own and it is necessary to inject insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes. In this case, the body can no longer produce enough insulin by itself. This type of diabetes is commonly a result of an unhealthy diet and/or a lack of exercise.
The following list shows symptoms that may be associated with diabetes. If you detect one or more of these symptoms, contact your doctor as soon as possible for a consultation.
1. Unquenchable thirst and frequent urination
Increased thirst or the need to urinate more frequently are typical symptoms of diabetes. When you have diabetes, your kidneys can’t absorb all the excess sugar, which instead ends up unfiltered in your urine, taking fluids from other tissues along with it. You're left feeling dehydrated, which makes you want to drink more, which in turn makes you need to pee more frequently.
On average, an individual urinates 6-7 times a day. If you feel the need to go more than 10 times a day without cystitis, you should consult a doctor.
2. Blurred vision
Blurred vision may indicate diabetes if there is no other reason to suspect a more serious eye problem or visual impairment. The lens of the eye becomes swollen and changes shape as a result of high blood sugar levels and shifting fluids. Straight lines become slanted and the world starts to look fuzzy.
Once diabetes has been treated, and blood sugar levels stabilize, vision should return to normal again. However if left untreated, a long-term consequence of diabetes is blindness, which mainly affects older people.
3. Unexplained weight loss
Of course, weight loss is a welcome change if you have purposely altered your diet or increased your physical activity but if it occurs for absolutely no reason, then it could be a sign of type 1 diabetes.
While dehydration might be the cause of your sudden weight loss (see point 1), it may also be because your body can’t use glucose as a source of energy anymore and so it burns fat and muscle instead.
4. Excessive hunger
Excessive hunger can be a sign of diabetes as the body doesn’t produce enough insulin and is unable to convert food into the glucose that your cells use for energy. It's the kind of hunger that doesn't go away after eating and if this symptom arises in combination with increased thirst and urination, these would be clear indicators of the disease.
5. Constant tiredness
Tiredness as a symptom can occur as a result of increased kidney activity and lack of energy. The body is weakened and cannot perform as it usually would. Too little exercise in the fresh air, too much caffeine or a lack of sleep can of course also be the cause of constant fatigue. However, if this symptom occurs together with one of more of the other signs, it may be an indicator of diabetes.
6. Dark skin discoloration
If bruises or dark patches of skin with a velvety texture suddenly appear without reason, especially on the neck, in the armpits, in the groin, inside the elbows, behind the knees, and on the knuckles of fingers, this may be a sign of high blood sugar levels and should be examined by your physician.
7. Slow wound healing
In addition to dark patches on the skin, wounds that take a great deal of time to heal is also a common sign of prediabetes or diabetes. High blood sugar increases inflammation in cuts and sores and also leads to poor blood circulation. This in turn, makes it hard for blood to reach and repair damaged areas of the skin.
8. Itchy skin
Blood sugar levels also influence the condition of your skin. If insufficient insulin is present in your body and excess sugar is eliminated through the bladder, your skin is left dry and itchy. It is not uncommon for diabetics to suffer from annoying fungal infections as the skin becomes more susceptible to infection.
Slowed blood circulation can cause tingling and even numbness in your hands and feet, if left untreated. As the limbs are farthest away from the heart, these parts of the body are affected the most by the lack of blood supply.
It's incredible to see what influence the blood sugar level has on the well-being of an individual. If you notice one or more of the symptoms described above, you should definitely consult your physician. The sooner you recognize diabetes, the better you'll be able to treat it and the better you'll learn to handle it yourself.