Diabetes (diabetes melitus) is an autoimmune human disease which occurs due to high blood sugar levels. According to statistical data, more than 387 million people in the entire world are suffering from diabetes, which occurs due to the inability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin to fight the high glucose levels.
There are 3 types of diabetes – type 1 occurs when the body fails to produce sufficient levels of insulin; type 2, which occurs due to insulin resistance, and type 3 or gestational diabetes, which occurs during pregnancy.
The main factors for diabetes are a weakened immune system, family history of diabetes and low vitamin D levels. Obesity, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, high blood pressure and polycystic ovary syndrome are some of the other factors which can cause diabetes. From the 3 types of the disease, type 2 is the most common and affects millions of people each year.
From 2014 onward, statistics show that about 90% of diabetic people are also obese. The disease doesn’t manifest through any specific symptoms early on, which makes it easy to miss them. However, by learning the early symptoms of diabetes, you can prevent the disease from developing and causing additional damage to the body. Continue reading the article below to see the 10 earliest symptoms of diabetes which you shouldn’t ignore:
Frequent urge to urinate
Frequent trips to the bathroom for Nr. 1 is one of the main signs of type 1 and 2 diabetes. This symptom is known as polyuria and occurs due to the high amount of sugar in the blood. In this case, the kidneys will work harder to eliminate the excess glucose, resulting in frequent urge to urinate. If you need to go to the bathroom far more often than before, we suggest visiting your doctor.
Frequent urination may dehydrate your body which will lead to frequent thirst as well. By quenching your thirst with sodas and juices you will only make things worse as these drinks contain a high amount of sugar. If the thirst doesn’t go away even after drinking water, we suggest visiting your doctor as soon as possible.
Hunger is another early symptom of diabetes. Diabetics are more hungry than usual and can eat more, resulting in increased insulin sensitivity and leading towards the development of diabetes. Whenever our cells experience lack of glucose, the body seeks more sources of sugar which will make you crave food often. Sometimes, you will still feel hungry after a meal as some foods raise your blood sugar levels even higher. If you’re feeling hungrier than before, visit your doctor who can detect the source of the problem.
Slow healing wounds
Diabetic people often suffer from slow healing of minor cuts and wounds. The high blood sugar levels will harden your arteries and make your blood vessels narrower, resulting in lesser blood and oxygen flow to the affected area. Furthermore, high blood sugar levels will also affect the function of your red blood cells which are responsible for transportation of important nutrients to your tissues.
High blood sugar levels over a prolonged period will weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infections, especially in the urinary tract system and skin. Diabetic people often suffer from recurring infections due to their weakened immune system, so if your infections are coming back frequently, it may be time to visit your doctor.
Sudden weight loss
Obesity is definitely related to diabetes, but losing weight all of a sudden may also be a symptom of the disease. The sudden drop in weight usually occurs due to 2 reasons – excess water loss in the body due to frequent urination or the inability to absorb calories from the sugar in your blood. The insulin resistance will also make your body break down proteins in your muscles as alternate fuel source, which can lead to further weight loss.
Fatigue and weakness
Fatigue is one of the most common and most ignored symptoms of diabetes. The high blood sugar levels and improper blood and oxygen flow will rob your cells of energy, resulting in feelings of weakness. According to one 2014 study, chronic fatigue should definitely be added to the list of diabetes symptoms and should never be ignored.
Numbness and tingling in the arms and legs
High blood sugar levels in the blood will impair proper blood flow to the tissues and damage your nerves, resulting in numbness and tingling in the limbs. This is a serious problem which may lead to peripheral arterial disease or even diabetic peripheral neuropathy, so make sure to visit a doctor if your experience this symptom.
Itchy and dry skin
Diabetes causes poor circulation in the body, so the sweat glands may become dysfunctional and make your skin itchy and dry. The same problem will make your skin more susceptible to fungal and yeast infections, and the disease may also cause dark patches on your skin, especially around the neck, groin and armpits. If your skin is itchy and dry all of a sudden, you may want to visit your doctor.
High blood sugar levels can also cause blurry vision due to the changes of fluid levels in the body. This can make the eye lenses swell and affect your ability to focus. Once you regulate your blood sugar levels, your vision should return to normal. If you leave the problem untreated, however, it may result in the development of cataract, retinopathy or glaucoma which may require surgery. Dry eyes, nearsightedness, glaucoma, low blood pressure and frequent eye infections can also be symptoms of diabetes.