Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of diagnosed cases in the UK. It occurs when there is a high glucose level in the blood due to insulin resistance or the body not producing enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes can come about at any age but predominantly affects the older population over 25, commonly with a family history.
On the contrary, type 1 diabetes is a condition where the body cannot produce the hormone insulin resulting in high blood sugar. This type is often found in children.
Untreated diabetes can cause severe complications like heart attacks, stroke, kidney problems and nerve damage. Therefore, it is beneficial to become aware of the possible symptoms of diabetes so you can seek immediate professional care if necessary.
Diabetes, a chronic condition characterised by high blood sugar levels, can present early signs that serve as indicators of the disease. These signs include frequent urination, increased hunger and thirst, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, recurrent infections, blurred vision, slow-healing wounds, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, and skin discolouration.
● Frequent urination. Elevated blood sugar urges the kidneys to expel the excess glucose resulting in more trips to the bathroom.
● Increased hunger and thirst. Hunger results from cells not getting enough nutrition due to insulin resistance, which keeps the glucose from entering your cells and providing energy. Increased thirst comes as a consequence of constant urination.
● Fatigue. Dehydration from frequent urination, fluctuating blood sugar levels and your body working harder to process excess glucose all contribute to fatigue.
● Unexplained or sudden weight loss. When the body cannot process glucose to provide the energy you need, it begins to burn fat and muscle for energy causing a drop in body weight.
● Frequent yeast and other vaginal infections. High glucose levels feed bacteria and cause vaginal changes making it an ideal environment for yeast to multiply.
● Persistent urinary tract infection. Excess glucose in the urine makes the urinary tract more susceptible to bacteria growth.
● Blurred vision. Elevated blood sugar can damage the tiny, small vessels and tissues in the retina, causing blurred vision.
● Slow-healing wounds. Damaged blood vessels due to high glucose levels decrease blood circulation to the wound site, making it harder for the body to heal.
● Hands or feet numbness or tingling. This comes as a result of nerve damage due to elevated blood sugar.
● Skin discolouration. Insulin resistance causes acanthosis nigricans that appear like dark and velvety patches on the skin, usually found in the neck, armpits, groin and other body folds.
Having one or more symptoms of diabetes does not mean the illness afflicts you. The best way to check your condition and confirm is through blood testing and working with your doctor to diagnose your condition.