Around 24 million people have diabetes all over the world. However, only 18 million of them are aware that they have this condition. According to an estimate, more than 90% people have type 2 diabetes. The reason that some of the people aren’t aware of the fact that they have diabetes is that the initial diabetes symptoms are quite innocuous.
You need to understand the symptoms of diabetes in order to better counter the disease. If the disease is encountered in its initial phases, it won’t lead to any complications. Understanding diabetes symptoms is also important because it will let you diagnose and treat the condition head on!
Symptoms of Diabetes in General.
Some symptoms of diabetes are non-specific. These symptoms surface in people of all ages and genders with both type diabetes. While they are non-specific, these symptoms are enough to warn you about what is to come.
- Thirst and Urination
These two are the classic symptoms of diabetes, which is the result of sugar building up in your blood. When your blood sugar levels are high, more of it is passed into the urine as well. In an attempt to dilute the excreted sugar, kidney starts to filter out more water as well. This result in frequent urination. When you urinate more, you will automatically drink more fluids in order to quench your thirst.
- Weight loss
High blood sugar levels can lead to weight loss. But, the problem is that the weight loss is only 10 to 20 pounds after two to three months. This might sound like a healthy weight loss, but it isn’t. The reason for this is that the insulin hormones doesn’t get glucose into the cells. Due to this, the body thinks it’s starving and starts to break down proteins from the muscles to make an alternate to fulfil the energy requirements of body.
- Feeling Hungry
High blood sugar can give you a feeling of hunger. The reason being that insulin in the blood isn’t working properly or it is not even there, as in type I diabetes. Due to this, the body cells don’t get their share of glucose (sugar) and start to starve. Now the body reacts and tries to find out more energy, which is available in the form of food. Therefore, you will feel hungry all the times.
- Blurred Vision
Blurred vision is perhaps one of the basic indications that diabetes is prevailing in your body. High blood sugar pulls out fluid from the body tissues and eye lenses are no exception in this matter. This also affects your focusing ability. It is important to treat it in time because when it is left untreated, it can cause sprouting of aberrant blood vessels in the back of your eye, which can further deteriorate your vision.
When you have diabetes, glucose doesn’t enter into the body cells to provide them with energy. Your body cells don’t function properly due to lack of fuel and you feel fatigued and tired most of the times.
It has been observed that infections are more common in diabetes sufferers. This happens because high sugar takes away your body’s ability to fight infection. In more scientific terms, high sugar dements the innate immune system of human body. That results in poor resistance to invading viruses and bacteria, which ultimately results in increased propensity to develop infections.
- Skin Problems
A warning sign of diabetes is itchy skin. It can be the result of poor blood circulation or dry skin. Other skin conditions like nigricans and acanthosis are also warning of signs of diabetes.
- Swollen gums
It is a well-established fact that diabetes weakens the body’s ability to heal in time. That’s why even minor infections and bruises, which would otherwise go unnoticed, become a major problem in diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Men, Women and Children.
Now that you know the diabetes symptoms in general, it’s better to know about the specific diabetes symptoms in men, women and children.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Men
Diabetic men are more prone to develop following conditions:
- Muscle loss and Reduced Strength
Due to their muscular build, excessive muscle loss is a sign of diabetes in men. When the blood sugar doesn’t enter the cells to fuel their energy demands, the body breaks down more muscle to gain energy. This weight loss is noticeable, especially in people with type 1 diabetes.
- Erectile Dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is also a symptom of undiagnosed diabetes in men. Erection difficulties are caused mainly due to high blood sugar levels over longer periods of time. This causes difficulties in blood supply around the penis and damages to the nerves surrounding the genitals. Due to this, a person loses the ability to achieve or maintain normal erection during sex.
- Recurrent Genital Thrush
Genital thrust is actually a yeast infection that occurs in case the blood sugar levels remain persistently high. Some symptoms of genital thrust include itching around the head of penis, swelling around the head of penis, soreness during sex and unpleasant odor.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Women
Some diabetes symptoms that are quite specific for diabetic women include:
- Menstrual Abnormalities & Thrush
It is almost impossible for diabetic women to have normal periods. They bleed too much, too often and for longer periods of time. Just like men, women with diabetes also develop thrush, intense itching around the vagina, smelly vaginal discharge and pain during sex and menstruation.
- Sexual Dysfunction
It has been proved that high blood sugar over a certain period of time can cause poor blood supply and nerve damage of the genitals, leading to problems with arousal and achieving orgasm.
- Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes, a form of diabetes occurring during pregnancy, is another symptom of diabetes in women. The signs of gestational diabetes, more or less, are the same as other types of diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes in Children
Some of the sign and symptoms of diabetes in children are mentioned below:
- Increased Thirst & Urination
Due to diabetes, excessive blood sugar develops in the bloodstream. Due to this, fluid is pulled out of the tissues, leading to thirst. Consequently, the child will drink more and thus, urinate more too.
Feeling tired is another symptom of diabetes in children. The child feels tired because the body can’t convert the sugar in the bloodstream into energy for the organs and muscles to use.
- Unexplained Behavior
Due to constant feeling of weakness and tiredness, children with diabetes often become moody or irritable.
- Weight loss & Failure to Thrive
A body that is unable to covert the sugar into energy experiences fat and muscle loss. The weight loss in children in often described as sudden or rapid. Moreover, such children fail to thrive and don’t reach their growth bench marks in time.
- Changes in Eyesight
A high blood sugar level pulls out fluids from blood tissues, including the tissue of eyes. This leads to blurred vision. However, a child may not complain about it. The reason for this is that children usually don’t have an idea of what a normal eye sight is. It usually presents as poor academic performance.
It is popularly said that diabetes is a ‘silent killer’. So, if you observe any of the symptoms mentioned in this article, go to the doctor at once and get yourself examined.