Diabetes can often go unnoticed because affected individuals are often not aware of the symptoms and changes associated with diabetes. Diabetes, when left untreated, can cause serious health problems. Learning to know and recognize the symptoms of diabetes will help those who are at high risk for this disease know when to seek medical attention and further testing. Early diagnosis and treatment are very important for people with diabetes.
Common diabetes symptoms may include:
Sometimes increased thirst is the first sign noticed. As blood sugar builds up, the kidneys work hard to filter and absorb that sugar. Sometimes the kidneys are not able to keep up. The sugar is then excreted into the urine, drawing fluid from the body's tissues. This triggers the body to feel thirsty. The more the person drinks, the more urine they will make, so the two symptoms often go hand in hand.
Diabetes is often associated with people who are overweight or obese. However, sudden and unexpected weight loss can be a sign of type 1 and 2 diabetes. When the sugar is discarded through frequent urination, it leads to a loss of calories. The disease can stop the food sugars from reaching the cells — so even though the individual is eating, the cells are not getting the energy they need. This can lead to excessive hunger (even when eating a normal amount) and fast, unexpected weight loss.
High blood sugar levels pull fluids from all of the body's tissues, including the tissues of the eyes. This can lead to blurred vision. Over time, damage to the eye retina can occur. If the diabetes is left untreated, this can cause loss of vision and, potentially, blindness.
Diabetes can damage the nerves, and this often shows up as a tingling in the hands and feet. Sometimes a burning pain in hands, legs, feet, and arms can occur.
If you are noticing changes in the health of your gums, you may need to get checked for diabetes. When left untreated, diabetes can cause the gums to pull away from the teeth or increase the likelihood that an individual will struggle with gum disease.
Patients with diabetes are more prone to infections. High blood sugar levels may impact the body's immune and healing responses.
Diabetes is a serious condition with far-reaching consequences. If you are noticing some of these symptoms of diabetes, talk to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes, blood glucose, glucose tolerance or A1C.
Severe hypoglycemia can be dangerous and must be treated promptly. It is important for patients, caregivers, providers, and the pubic to all be in the KNOW.