According to the 2020 figures obtained from IDF (International Diabetes Federation), 77 million people in India suffer from diabetes. Nearly 2 % of our population dies every year due to complications of diabetes. Well, the changed lifestyle and food pattern can be blamed for it. As an individual, early diagnosis, and correction in lifestyle are 2 factors that can save us from becoming a part of this problem. Here are the details on Symptoms of diabetes that you should be aware of and take immediate action.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes, Also known as diabetes mellitus is a condition that is characterized by abnormally high blood glucose levels. It leads to the elimination of excess glucose in the urine. Diabetes results from a lack of insulin or in some cases inability of the body to utilize the insulin. This causes abnormalities in the carbohydrate as well as fat and protein metabolism.
Types of Diabetes:
The three types of diabetes are
Type 2 Diabetes mellitus: Insulin is produced in the body. However, the ability to utilize insulin is affected and a person develops insulin resistance. Read – Indian diet plan for Type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Symptoms of diabetes differ based on the type of diabetes and age and physiological state of the patient. Here is a list of some general symptoms of diabetes
Our kidneys try to remove the excess sugar in the blood by filtering it out. In this process excess urine is formed and hence there is an urge of frequent urination in the person. The frequency of urination mostly increases during the night hours, depicting a rise in blood sugar.
Increased Thirst / Polydipsia
Increased thirst and dry mouth are commonly related to diabetes. These symptoms occur due to the increased frequency of urination. The body goes into dehydration due to excess urination. Hence you may experience dry mouth and increased thirst. Drinking sugar-loaded beverages can make the condition worse.
Increased Hunger/ Polyphagia
Polyphagia is a major symptom of diabetes and it occurs when glucose in the blood cannot enter body cells due to lack of insulin or insulin resistance. Because the body cannot convert this glucose into energy, Hence you end up feeling hungry all the time.
Eating more is not a solution to this symptom. It will cause an uncontrolled rise in blood sugar levels. Hence the situation will worsen.
When you have high blood glucose levels for a longer period and diabetes goes undetected, it may slow down the healing of small cuts, wounds, and infections. The blood vessels become stiff and the regular blood flow is affected. This leads to a deficiency of nutrients and oxygen in the body cells, which may delay healing.
Fatigue and tiredness are two different terms. Hence it is important to understand the difference between them to make the diagnosis simple. When you are tired, you feel better and energetic after resting. However, if you are fatigued, resting does not help in making that tiredness go away. Fatigue and weakness might result when the cells do not get enough glucose. The absence of diabetes medicines makes the weakness prevail.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes:
Some symptoms are specific to the type of diabetes. Here are some symptoms of Type 1 diabetes.
Unintentional weight loss
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes:
Here are some symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.
Chronic Symptoms and Complication of Type 1 Diabetes :
Even after the commencement of treatment, type I diabetes affects your overall body. But if the sugar levels are under control then the chances of damage in the body are reduced. Some of the complications with type 1 diabetes are as follows:
The 2 issues commonly occurring in the people with type 1 diabetes are blisters and sores. If the sore remains untreated then it can lead to Gangrene. The lack of sensation indicates that the injuries of the feet may have gone unnoticed. These untreated injuries can result in dry and cracked skin. It allows infectious agents to enter the body. In this condition, amputation might be needed.
High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels of the retina. This can lead to bleeding and damage in the part of the retina that can sense light. This condition can affect both the eyes. Symptoms include- empty or dark spot at the center of vision, blurred vision, difficulty to see well at night, and seeing floaters or spots. However, retinopathy can be stopped with the help of laser therapy or by controlling blood sugar. If it is not effectively controlled then it may cause blindness.
Nephropathy or Kidney Disease
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can result in the damage of the kidneys and also lead to kidney failure. It is believed that high blood pressure can contribute to diabetic nephropathy.
Neuropathy or Nerve Damage
High levels of blood sugar can result in nerve damage. They lead to numbness or pain in the affected area of the body. Nerve damage in hands, legs, and feet are common. Diabetic neuropathy is of different types namely- Peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, proximal and focal neuropathy. Peripheral neuropathy is the damage to peripheral nerves in the legs or feet. Autonomic neuropathy affects the nerves controlling the nervous system. For example vascular, urinary, and gastrointestinal nerves. Focal neuropathy affects an area or a particular nerve on any part of the body.
Hypoglycemia is low blood sugar that can occur from pills, insulin, injections, skipping of meals, or with the intake of sugar-lowering medicines. Some of the symptoms include dizziness, sudden sweating, weakness, confusion, blurred vision, trembling, and headache. Low glucose levels can interfere with the brain function as sugar is its major energy source. If hypoglycemia is not controlled in time by the consumption of carbohydrates then it may lead to a coma.
Type- 1 diabetes patients are more likely to develop strokes, heart disease, and issues relating to poor circulation. Since there is a fluctuation of blood glucose it can result in repeated injuries to the heart and increase the chances of cardiovascular disease.
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Chronic Symptoms and Complications of Type- 2 Diabetes
Atherosclerosis is the narrowing and hardening of arteries. This condition can impair the flow of blood to the organs of the body. Symptoms include chest pain, sweating, breathlessness as well as sweating. When it narrows the arteries of the brain, it can cause confusion or dizziness. When atherosclerosis narrows the intestine arteries, there will be abdominal swelling. The most affected organs are the heart, legs, and brain.
Peripheral neuropathy is a common symptom of type-2 diabetes. It results in the damage of nerves controlling urination, sexual function, and digestion. Nerve damage to the legs will occur first that causes numbness and pain in the feet.
Retina damage can block the blood flow and lead to bleeding. Symptoms include blurred vision, eyespots, and floaters. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy is the advanced and final stage of eye disease in diabetes. If left untreated, this condition can lead to blindness and also put you at risk of developing glaucoma and cataract.
Nephropathy refers to kidney damage. It occurs when the blood sugar levels, as well as the blood pressure levels, remain elevated and untreated. Symptoms include nausea, muscle twitching, swelling of face, hands, and feet, poor appetite, itching, and drowsiness. As a result, the kidneys are unable to remove the toxic waste.
Articles related to Type 2 diabetes
Type-1 diabetes onsets in childhood or early adulthood. If ignored, it causes health issues like diabetic ketoacidosis and leads to fatal coma. Type-2 diabetes can be missed as its development is slow and early stages can be difficult to make out. However, It is very important to diagnose Diabetes on time to avoid damage to the heart, nerves, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels.