We all have a relative or a friend who is having diabetes. The rapid increase in the rates of diabetes mellites across the world is a good reason to be cautious about it and watch for its symptoms within us.

Diabetes mellites is a disease condition that occurs due to a high level of sugar in the blood. Sugar is the primary energy source of the cells in the body. Insulin is the hormone which helps to control blood sugar level at an optimal level.

Diabetes mellites occurs due to insulin deficiency, resistance or an imbalance.

There are two main types of diabetes mellites,

Type 1 diabetes mellites – This occurs due to the destruction of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas leading to low insulin levels in our body.

Type 2 diabetes mellites – This occurs due to insulin imbalance or resistance. However, the exact cause for it is unknown.

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We have noted all other types of diabetes including diabetes insipidus in another article.

Diabetes mellites is the major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, strokes and lower limb amputations across the world. These complications can be avoided or delayed with healthy habits of eating, regular exercises and medications.

The onset of diabetes mellites also can be prevented or delayed by a healthy lifestyle and maintaining ideal body weight according to your height.

Let us dig out the main symptoms of type 2 diabetes mellitus in Adults.

They can be warning signs or indication that you have pre-diabetes. We have discussed the differences between diabetes and pre-diabetes before.

  • Frequency of urination

Due to excess glucose in the blood, our kidneys try to flush the glucose out from the body via urine. This may lead to more urine production, increase frequency of urination and frequent visits to the washroom.

  • Excessive thirst

Loss of fluid in our body and increase sugar level which lead to an increase in the concentration of blood are the causes of which stimulate the thirst centres in the brain. This increases your craving for liquids.

  • Feel like you are starving

Due to resistance to insulin, sugar molecules struggle to fulfil the need for energy in body cells. This stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin to get the work done. This may result in high insulin levels in the blood, which signals the brain indicating that your body is starving so need to eat more.

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  • Extreme fatigue, tired and lethargy

As described earlier insulin help for transportation of glucose into cells. When there is less glucose in cells, energy production is slowed. This may lead to fatigue, tiredness and lethargy in patients with diabetes mellites. Also, dehydration and disruption of sleep may be causes contributory factors for the above symptoms.

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  • Blurred vision

Blurred vision in diabetes mellites can be occurred due to 3 reasons.

Ø Due to high blood glucose level, the lens of the eye swells and become difficult to focus resulting blurred vision.

Ø Due to the low blood glucose level, the brain has difficulty in focusing on what the eye is seeing. When the blood sugar level is normal vision returns to normal.

Ø Above two conditions are temporary conditions due to a variation of blood glucose levels. It will be corrected when the blood glucose level come to normal. But if blurred vision persists, that might be due to the condition called ‘diabetic retinopathy’. If not managed well, this condition could damage the blood vessels in the retina or back of the eye. However, the condition is treatable.

  • Slow healing bruises and cuts

When the blood glucose level is higher than normal, it prevents nutrients and oxygen entering cells, suppresses immune system functions and increases the inflammatory response of the body cells. All these slowdowns the healing process.

  • Weight loss even you eat more

In diabetes mellites, body cells cannot use glucose to produce energy due to insufficient or ineffective insulin prevents getting glucose from the blood. As a result, the body starts burning fat and muscles to produce energy. This is the cause of weight loss in diabetes mellites. Excessive loss of water from the body also a contributory factor.

  • Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands and feet.

Long term untreated high blood sugar level can lead to pain, tingling and numbness in the hands or feet because high blood glucose level damages the vessels and nerve endings. It is difficult to repair them because they are tiny vessels. So, blood flow is prolonged and sluggish to/from the heart.

  • Skin infections and itchiness

High blood sugar levels can precipitate skin infections, and it is the major cause of the itchiness. Besides, high blood sugar level can cause skin dryness which leads to excessive scratching, discomfort and pain. Due to excessive fluid loss, poor circulation of blood towards skin is another cause of skin dryness.

Genital itching is a common complication in diabetes mellites. Most of the time, it is due to genital yeast infections. High blood sugar level leads to pass sugar molecules with urine, which makes a favourable environment for yeast to grow.

Vaginal thrush and bacterial infections are also common in people with high blood glucose level.

  • Mood swinging

Low blood sugar level (<70mmol/L) can cause irritability, sadness, anxious and difficult in making decisions.

High blood sugar level (>250mmol/L) may cause confusion, difficulty in thinking clearly and quickly, and feeling nervous and tiredness.

  • Headache and dizziness

People with high blood sugar levels may experience headache, dizziness or lightheadedness. These symptoms may occur due to dehydration after passing excess glucose in urine.

Postural hypotension is another cause for dizziness which is common among people with high blood sugar levels.

  • Decrease libido and erectile dysfunction

Diabetes mellites lowers the production of testosterone which drives the sexual life in men. Testosterone helps to maintain libido and responsible for erection.

Lack of energy and depression due to disease are also contributory factors for this.

Are symptoms similar in children?

Symptoms of diabetes in children are most of the time similar to signs in adults. Children with Type 1 or 2 diabetes mellites also can have:

  • Frequency of urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue, tiredness and lethargy
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing bruises and cuts
  • Weight loss even eat more
  • Tingling, pain or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Skin infections and itchiness
  • Mood swinging
  • Headache and dizziness.

In addition to those symptoms’ children can have a few specific symptoms too. They are:

  • unusual behaviour – Some children with high blood sugar levels are irritable, moody and restless than other kids.
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid and heavy breathing
  • Fruity smelling breath
  • Abdominal pain

What are diabetes-related medical emergencies?

It is important to watch for diabetes symptoms carefully and manage diabetes well and timely.

Ignorance of symptoms can result in diabetic coma. The condition is reversible; however, is a medical emergency need to manage only at a hospital.

If not controlled well diabetes mellites could also end up with the condition called ‘diabetic ketoacidosis’. It usually appears as a combination of the above-described symptoms and features.

The final decision is most of the time both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have similar symptoms in adults and children. If not taken seriously a patient may quickly end up at the emergency department with life-threatening circumstances.