Diabetes is a metabolic disorder whereby the body cannot process sugar in the blood. This leads to a high blood sugar level which leads to short and long term problems for the health. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes. This is characterized by a term known as insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that the body releases to reduce the blood sugar level. Type 2 diabetics produce insulin but the body doesn’t respond to this insulin or not enough is released to have any effect on lowering the blood sugar level. The other common form of diabetes is type 1 diabetes. This occurs because the body destroys the cells that are responsible for creating insulin, hence the body cannot lower the sugar level. Type 1 diabetes generally has some distinctive symptoms. Type 2 diabetes often manifests the same type of symptoms as type 1 but sometimes show no signs at all. In some cases, people have type 2 diabetes for many years without knowing about it because there are no overt symptoms. This article will cover the classic diabetic signs and symptoms.
Three common diabetic symptoms
Polyuria or frequent urination. Sugar has to be excreted through the kidneys when the blood sugar is high. This creates a saturated solution that attracts and draws water from the surrounding tissues. Hence frequent urination.
Polydipsia or constant thirst. This is partly related to the polyuria. The person is ridding the body of water that it needs to replace. High blood sugar also convinces the brain that more fluid should be taken on.
Polyphagia or excessive hunger. Sugar in the blood is essentially the energy that the body uses to function. If it can’t access the energy, the body thinks that it is hunger and hence the person eats more.
Other signs of diabetes
Tired or listless. Same as polyphagia, the body gets no energy from the sugar thus the person will feel tired or suffer from fatigue.
Blurred vision. High blood sugar causes osmotic changes in the lens that lead
to blurred vision.
Numbness in feet and hands. This is often the result of poor circulation or nerve break down as a result of consistently high blood sugar for a long time period. This might often feel like ‘pins and needles’ in the tips of the feet or hands.
Susceptible to wounds and infections with poor healing abilities. The immune and circulatory systems are affected by diabetes. This causes parts of the body to be deficient in nutrients and minerals and slows down the response to infection and germs.
Irritable or moody. hyperglycemia, ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar nonketotic coma, hyperglycemia are all conditions of diabetes. They can affect the central nervous system and cause dizziness, confused mental states and even coma.
Most of these signs and symptoms will be apparent. This is especially so for type 1 diabetics because there is no insulin to reduce blood sugar. These symptoms often become noticeable when the diabetic condition begins and leads to a fast diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes is different because the body is still working normally and gradually gets worse over time. People learn to live with the symptoms over time until they get so bad that they seek medical help and the condition is diagnosed.