Symptoms of Diabetes.
Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many diabetes symptoms seem insignificant or just irritating. Complications of diabetes occur when diabetes symptoms are ignored.
Early symptoms, especially type 2 diabetes, can be subtle or seemingly harmless — if you have any of the symptoms discussed on this site you could have had diabetes for months or even years and not known.
Because type 2 diabetes develops slowly, some people with high blood sugar have no symptoms.
Because symptoms of type 1 diabetes develop over a short period of time. People may be very sick by the time they are diagnosed.
Your health care provider may suspect that you have diabetes if your blood sugar level is higher than 200 mg/dL.
Here's what to look for.
Excessive thirst and increased urination.
When you have diabetes, excess sugar (glucose) builds up in your blood. Your kidneys are forced to work harder to filter and absorb the excess sugar. If your kidneys can't keep up, the excess sugar is excreted into your urine along with fluids drawn from your tissues. This triggers more frequent urination, which may leave you dehydrated. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you'll urinate even more.
You may feel fatigued. Many factors can contribute to this. They include dehydration from increased urination and your body's inability to function properly, since it's less able to use sugar for energy needs.
Click here for Diabetes Diet info. Weight changes also fall under the umbrella of possible diabetes symptoms.
When you lose sugar through frequent urination, you also lose calories. At the same time, diabetes may keep the sugar in your food from reaching your cells — leading to constant hunger. The combined effect is potentially rapid weight loss, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association have developed specific dietary guidelines for people with diabetes.
A registered dietitian can help you decide how to balance the carbohydrates, protein, and fat in your diet.
Everyone has individual needs. Work with your doctor, and possibly a dietitian, to develop a meal plan that works for you.
Diabetes symptoms sometimes involve your vision. High levels of blood sugar pull fluid from your tissues, including the lenses of your eyes. This affects your ability to focus.
Left untreated, diabetes can cause new blood vessels to form in your retina — the back part of your eye — as well as damage established vessels. For most people, these early changes do not cause vision problems. However, if these changes progress undetected, they can lead to vision loss and blindness.
Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
Doctors and people with diabetes have observed that infections seem more common if you have diabetes. Research in this area, however, has not proved whether this is entirely true, nor why. It may be that high levels of blood sugar impair your body's natural healing process and your ability to fight infections. Cuts or injures heal slower in the presence of diabetes. For women, bladder and vaginal infections are especially common.
Red, swollen, tender gums
Diabetes may weaken your ability to fight germs, which increases the risk of infection in your gums and in the bones that hold your teeth in place. Your gums may pull away from your teeth, your teeth may become loose, or you may develop sores or pockets of pus in your gums — especially if you have a gum infection before diabetes develops.
Tingling hands and feet
Excess sugar in your blood can lead to nerve damage. You may notice tingling and loss of sensation in your hands and feet, as well as burning pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet.
Take your body's hints seriously
In the United States alone, nearly 6 million people have undiagnosed diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. But you don't need to become a statistic. Understanding possible diabetes symptoms can lead to early diagnosis and treatment — and a lifetime of better health. If you're experiencing any of the following diabetes signs and symptoms, see your doctor.
If you notice any possible diabetes symptoms, contact your doctor. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can begin. Diabetes is a serious condition. But with your active participation and the support of your health care team, you can manage diabetes symptoms while enjoying an active, healthy life.
You should consult your doctor if you have any of the symptoms we have discussed above.