Diabetes is a common disease that is greatly effecting individuals in every part of the world today. The signs of diabetes comes in various forms and the early warning signs should be placed into great consideration once it kick-starts, so that appropriate measures should be taken to manage this dreaded ailment. We have three types of diabetes; Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes and Gestational diabetes. Before we proceed to the warning signs of diabetes, let us have a clear idea of what diabetes is all about and differentiating the two types of diabetes.
Also read: Diabetes
What Is Diabetes All About?
Diabetes also known as Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disease that results into an increased level of sugar in the blood over a prolonged period of time. This increased blood sugar level creates symptoms such as frequent urination, increased hunger and thirst etc.
When diabetes remain untreated for a long period of time, it can result to many complications. Acute complications of diabetes includes:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis, and
- Non-ketotic hyperosmolar coma
Serious long-term complications include:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Foot ulcers, and
- Damage to the eyes
What Is The Actual Cause Of Diabetes?
Every disease condition actually have a root cause, which can either come from a pathogen infection coming from outside the body or malfunctioning of the metabolic system in the human body. In the case of diabetes, the root cause is explained below.
Diabetes occurs either as a result of the pancreas inability to produce enough insulin or the cells of the body is not responding properly to the insulin produced (lack of insulin-receptor cells).
The 3 Types Of Diabetes
1. Type 1 diabetes
Types 1 diabetes occurs as a result of the body's inability to produce insulin. This type of diabetes was previously known as "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" or "juvenile diabetes.
2. Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs as a result of insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fails to respond properly to insulin. As this type of diabetes progress, it can also lead to lack of insulin. This form of diabetes is previously known as "non insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" or "adult-onset diabetes". The primary cause of this type of diabetes is excessive body weight and lack of physical exercise.
3. Gestational diabetes
This is the third form of diabetes and it occurs whenever a pregnant woman that does not have a previous record of diabetes, develops a high blood glucose level.
Prevention And Management Of Diabetes
With the complications and threats associated with diabetes, the good news is that it can be prevented and also appropriately managed. Prevention and management involves a healthy diet, physical exercise, and maintaining a normal body weight.
Type 1 diabetes should be managed by injecting the patient with insulin, whereas type 2 diabetes can be managed with medications, with or without insulin.
Now we have known some facts about diabetes, we shall be moving straight to the topic of today, which is the early warning signs of diabetes. Having knowledge about them makes it easier for us to easily diagnose if an individual has diabetes or not.
13 Early Warning Signs Of diabetes
We have earlier discussed about the three various forms of diabetes; type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. Out of the three, type 2 diabetes has been of great concern, it is regarded as a common, modern-aged disease. On the onset, type 2 diabetes presents itself with just few symptoms which can be easily overlooked, which makes it difficult for people that have it to easily detect it. But it is quite important to detect it at its early stage because it can result into dangerous complications such as cardiovascular and neurological damage.
Now, let us look at some early warning signs of diabetes, so that immediate attention should be given to it whenever it is been observed.
1. Frequent urination (polyuria)
Whenever you observe that you urinate more often than normal, especially frequent waking up at night in order to pass out urine, this could be an early warning sign of diabetes. The reason is because the kidneys are working harder to dispose the excess glucose found in the blood.
2. Excessive thirst (polydipsia)
This symptoms of diabetes is linked with the first one i listed. As the body excretes more water during the process of urination, there is a tendency for the body to try to replenish the lost fluid. This tendency results to frequent drinking of water as a result of excessive thirst.
3. Increased hunger (polyphagia)
As a result of the extreme increase and decrease in blood sugar levels, the body always develops a sudden urge to eat more and more food. As a result of the cells not getting enough glucose you need, you tend to crave for it, which makes you eat more.
4. Dry mouth
Lack of moisture in the mouth is another early warning signs of diabetes, which can be both unpleasant and dangerous. Dry mouth can become a breeding ground for bacteria which can cause different oral and dental problems. Gum diseases is known as a complication of diabetes.
5. Weight loss or weight gain that is hard to explain
As insulin is unable to get blood into the cells, the body acts as if it is starving and it starts using proteins from the muscles. Constant degradation of protein from the muscles can result into weight loss. Rapid unexplained weight loss (10 to 20 pounds in just a couple of months) is not healthy and calls for further investigation or diagnosis. Weight gain on the other hand can occur when there is an increased consumption of sugary foods.
Increased tiredness can develop when the body muscles constantly compensates for the lack of glucose in the cells. Also, it is not a positive situation if on a daily basis your sleep gets interrupted at night because of the frequent urge to urinate. Victims of such situation start to experience lower levels of energy and chronically do not feel well.
7. Vision problems
High levels of sugar in the blood also have an effect on the eyes. It changes the shape of the lens and eyes, which makes the vision to become blurry. Initially, the changes to the eyes are reversible. However, if the high sugar level persist for a long period of time, it can cause a permanent damage or can even lead to loss of eyesight.
Frequent headache can develop as a result of an elevated blood sugar level and it is considered as an early sign of hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose). The headache gets worse as the diabetic condition worsens.
9. Infections, cuts and bruises that refuse to heal
This early warning sign of diabetes is as a result of blood vessel damage. Increased amount of sugars causes harm to the veins and arteries, which makes them to be less able to transport blood to the area it is needed to repair and heal the cuts or bruises.
10. Yeast infection
Since bacteria and fungi survive better in sugary environment, infections can be more common. The most obvious ones are yeast infections such as candida, especially candida infections that occur in the vagina of women.
11. Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
This early warning sign is as a result of damages caused on the nerves (neuropathy, that is connected with diabetes). Tingling and numbness are also accompanied by burning pain and swelling. if the sugar levels are not controlled and brought low, the damages caused on the nerve can become permanent and presents a serious complication of diabetes.
12. Skin changes
There is a tendency for the skin to exhibit some kind of changes, as an early warning sign. Velvety dark skin, known as Achantosis nigricans, can appear on the neck, groin and armpit. Unusual skin changes and itchiness can also be observed around the vaginal or groin area.
13. Sexual dysfunction
Diabetes also have the potency of damaging blood vessels and nerves in the sex organs, which can result into various sexual problems. Men can experience difficulty in having n erection and women too can experience vaginal dryness. 35 to 75% of diabetic men suffer from impotence.
These are 13 early signs of diabetes you should have knowledge of. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is wise for you to meet with your doctor and have your blood examined for high sugar level, just to clarify if you are indeed suffering from type 2 diabetes.