9 Symptoms of Diabetes & its Diagnosis

9 Symptoms of Diabetes & its Diagnosis

Diabetes is high blood sugar levels when the body is unable to break down these sugars. It is the second leading cause of morbidity and mortality, but it's early detection can result in earlier treatment, thus reducing the complication rates. There are two main types of diabetes, and lab tests can detect both. Type 1 diabetics aren’t able to produce insulin at all which affects younger people from small children to the early 20s age group, and those with type 2 diabetes who do produce insulin, but it isn’t enough to break down all of the food sugar, and affects the older population usually from the 30s age group upwards, and is closely tied to body habitus, diet, familial risk factors, etc.  

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most prevalent conditions affecting over 30 million people.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report, more than 84 million adults in the US have prediabetes. As the name implies, prediabetes is high blood sugar but not high enough to be considered full diabetes--this is the time to intervene with diet and exercise to delay and prevent the onset of diabetes. The development of type 2 diabetes is gradual, and the symptoms can be so mild that they are often unnoticeable in the early stages. This is why diabetes goes unnoticed often for too long and why it’s important to get lab tests regularly.

Here are nine common symptoms of diabetes:

Frequent urination:


When a person’s blood sugar levels are high, their kidneys filter out excess sugar from the blood, making them urinate more frequently, especially during the night. 

Thirstiness: 


As increased blood sugar levels cause frequent urination, a person feels more thirsty because of the loss of water from their body. 

Constant hunger:


Another sign of diabetes is the feeling of constant hunger. Since people with diabetes don’t breakdown and metabolize the sugar from their food, they tend to feel hungry all the time.

Feeling lethargic:


People who have diabetes suffer from low energy levels, which results in them feeling sluggish and tired. This is due to the insufficient sugar movement from the blood to the body’s cells. 

Blurred vision: 


Excessive sugar in your blood can cause damage to the eye’s tiny blood vessels, resulting in blurred vision. It can occur in either one or both eyes, and is usually not constant. But if someone with diabetes is suffering from blurred vision and doesn’t seek any treatment, the damage in the blood vessels may become permanent and lead to vision loss. 

Delayed wound healing:


The body’s nerves and vessels get damaged because of persistent high blood sugar. This can cause hindrance in blood circulation, and thus, even small wounds and cuts may take a longer time to heal, and also increase the risk of infection.  

Numbness of hands and/or feet: 


Since high blood sugar levels can adversely affect blood circulation and cause damage to the body’s nerves. It is this damage to nerves especially in feet, and later in the disease in the hands that lead to a feeling of numbness. The medical name for this condition is ‘neuropathy,’ and it gets worse over time if a person doesn’t get the proper diabetes treatment. 

Dark skin patches: 


Another symptom of diabetes is the formation of dark patches on the creases of the neck, groin, or armpits. This skin condition is known as acanthosis nigricans and doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort, just the skin’s decoloration. 

Itchiness and yeast infection:


Increased sugar in the blood and urine acts as a food source for yeast, leading to yeast infection. These infections occur in moist and warm skin areas, including the mouth, genital areas, and armpits. Infection is usually very itchy, leads to a reddish rash, burning sensation, and soreness in the infected areas. 

Why Is Early Diagnosis Important? 


Diabetes is often called a silent killer. This is especially true for type 2 diabetes, as the symptoms are less obvious. Type 1 diabetes, on the other hand, is detected sooner as the symptoms are more significant. It’s a good practice to get lab tests for your sugar level if you are feeling any of the above symptoms because early diagnosis can help avoid complications in the future such as premature heart problems, stroke, vision loss, neuropathy, and kidney failure.
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Dr. Jawad is a practicing physician with extensive administrative experience, who has firsthand knowledge of running a medical practice and working in employed models. WoW Health aligns incentives for the healthcare ecosystem so all stakeholders benefit from transparent and direct relationship between patients and medical service providers.