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.

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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

8 Comments

  1. Achievers

    Thanks for sharing this article on warning and signs of diabetes. 

    The growth rate of diabetes in the world cannot be overlooked and proper care needs to be taken in order to contribute towards reducing the growth rate by taking precautions and watching what we eat in reducing sugary food. 

    This article is really informative and helpful, I think every individual should read this article to know about the symptoms of diabetes and how to quickly manage and  take care of it. 

    Thanks for sharing this article. 

    Reply
    • MediChannel

      Hi there,

      Thank you for your valuable comment, and you have nailed it. We are glad you found the article useful.

      Let us know if you have any specific questions require answering about diabetes signs and symptoms.

      You may find our article about the history of Diabetes Mellitus and Insipidus, and diabetes symptoms in women interesting too.

      Happy reading!

      Reply
  2. Vapz

    Thank you so much for writing this article, I’m sure it would help a lot of people to live a longer life and that those who do not have it yet, can be able to look out for the signs in friends and loved ones. I have an uncle who died of diabetes and I think part of the problem was because we didn’t notice these symptoms and try to help elongate his life some more. Now, I know better.

    Reply
    • MediChannel

      Hi Vapz,

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment.

      Comments like the one from yours encourage us to publish more articles for our community to be informed better.

      Thanks again and best wishes.

      Reply
  3. Cathy

    The rise of diabetes in children is worrying especially with all the kind of food that they have access to nowadays. Fast food, junk food, candies and juices – I don’t think these are healthy for them. Yes, it gives them instant pleasure, but will certainly have a negative impact on their capability to process sugar in their bodies. 

    It’s interesting that you pointed out unusual behaviors as part of the diabetic symptoms in children. It seems to me that ALL kids have that kind of presentation nowadays if you don’t give them what they want. I have to start looking into this with my little ones. Thanks for the heads up.

    Reply
    • Shani

      Dear Kathy,

      Thanks for the valuable comment.

      When I say unusual behaviour in children, I meant aggression, delinquency, irritability, restlessness and hyperactivity as a result of increased blood glucose levels.

      Children may also react with sadness or anger once they are diagnosed with (Type 1) diabetes and come to know that it can be a life long disease. Multiple psychological conditions can be associated with those symptoms so should be managed well, proactively with understanding.

      Kind regards.

      Reply
  4. Jay

    Some folks having diabetes don’t really know when they do which makes them ignore it until it becomes serious. The symptoms listed in this post can be an indication of having diabetes but what I would like to know is if these symptoms are a clear indication of diabetes because one might have these symptoms and might be diagnosed with a different ailment

    Reply
    • Shani

      Dear Jay,

      Thank you for stopping by and for your comment.

      It is possible that the symptoms noted in this article to represent the clinical picture of another disease. For example, high frequency of urination can be associated with other conditions like urinary tract infection, kidney stones and anxiety disorders. As such, if you experience any symptom from the above that should not be ignored, but seek medical advice. Then, depending on your risk profile and underlying diseases your doctor can suggest which tests you need to undergo to confirm a diagnosis.

      If a person experiences multiple symptoms from the above list, I am sure the doctor will ask you to undergo a blood test together with any other diagnostic tests to confirm (or exclude) diabetes.

      Hope this clarifies.

      Best wishes.

      P.S. As much as I like to help you out from a distance, you should not consider my guidance here as ‘medical advice’.

      Reply

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