Diabetes is a chronic health condition that affects 37.7 million Americans – about 1 in 10. It occurs when the pancreas cannot make insulin or the body cannot sufficiently use the insulin it produces. Diabetes mellitus has three types – type 1, type 2, and gestational.
Type 1 can develop at any age but is more common in children and adolescents. It’s when your body produces little to no insulin, requiring you to get daily insulin injections. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type and is prevalent in adults and is now seen in the pediatric population. It’s when your body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces. Gestational diabetes is a kind of diabetes that occurs in pregnant women who did not previously have diabetes.
So, how can you tell you have diabetes? You can watch out for early symptoms of diabetes. These symptoms occur due to higher-than-normal levels of blood glucose.
Early Diabetes Symptoms
Here are some telltale signs of diabetes:
Feeling Thirsty & Urinating More Often Than Usual
The average individual urinates around four to seven times a day, but people with diabetes need to relieve their bladder more often. This is because, typically, the body reabsorbs glucose as it passes through the kidneys. However, diabetes elevates blood sugar, which means the kidneys cannot perform as they should. This causes more urine formation, requiring you to drink more water and increasing the frequency of peeing.
Fatigue & Hunger
Early diabetes symptoms also include fatigue and hunger. The body converts food into glucose that the cells use for energy. However, your cells need insulin to use glucose. If your body does not make enough insulin or if your cells cannot sufficiently use the insulin in your body, they are not able to use glucose, leading you to feel weak and hungrier than usual.
The changing fluid levels in your body might make your lenses swell up. If that happens, they change shape resulting in times of lack of focus and blurred vision.
Itchy Skin & Dry Mouth
Since the human body is actively using fluids to make more urine, there’s little moisture left for other organs and extremities. It can cause dehydration and make your mouth and skin feel dry and itchy.
Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms
- Unexpected weight loss due to muscle and fat consumption in energy production
- Nausea and vomiting due to the production and accumulation of ketones in your blood, which can also result in diabetic ketoacidosis
Uncontrolled Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
- Pain or numbness in the legs and feet due to nerve damage
- Slow-healing cuts or sores due to nerve damage because of high blood sugar
- Yeast infections due to the presence of yeast that feeds on glucose
- Velvety dark skin on the neck, groin, and armpits
- Decreased vision
- Erectile dysfunction
Diabetes Education at Santiam Hospital & Clinics
Diabetes is a lifelong condition that requires patients to make multiple care decisions regarding medication and food. Santiam Hospital understands this and offers a thorough Diabetes Education Program. This program teaches self-management skills to people with diabetes. It gives them the tools to modify their lifestyle and behavior to minimize the effect of the condition on their life. Learn more about our diabetes education program here!