Diabetes is a health condition that is usually expressed in one of two forms – type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Although the two types have very different causes, both conditions have similar early signs and symptoms, the only difference being that symptoms of type 1 diabetes tend to develop faster. The symptoms are typically linked to the excess sugar in the bloodstream, and lack of sugar reaching cells. It is vital to know what these signs and symptoms are in case you or someone you know experiences them. Early diagnosis for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can be extremely important. Read more on the next page.
The Two Types of Diabetes
It is very important to understand the differences and similarities between the two types of diabetes, so if you are showing symptoms you are able to hazard a guess at which type you are experiencing. The symptoms for both are similar, but the causes are very different. It is important to see a doctor immediately when you experience these symptoms, regardless of which type you think you have.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes is where the pancreas stops producing insulin – the hormone responsible for allowing energy (glucose) to get to where it needs to be in the body. Symptoms develop quickly, sometimes feeling as though they have appeared overnight. The condition lasts for the rest of your life and has to be treated with insulin therapy.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes is linked closely to an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, which damages the ability of the pancreas to produce enough insulin. Symptoms do not develop as quickly, so it is vital to keep an eye on how at-risk you are of the condition. It is also a lifelong condition, but the effects can be managed with changes to diet, as well as various ways of raising the insulin levels in the blood.
Early Signs and Symptoms
1. Extreme Thirst
One of the most commonly experienced symptoms of diabetes is extreme thirst. The body tries to flush out the excess glucose that builds up in the blood, which often results in dehydration. This extreme thirst is often described as “unquenchable” – no matter how much you drink, you are still thirsty. The more extreme the thirst is, the more likely you are to have type
2. Polyurea – Frequent Urination
Due to the extreme thirst and higher consumption of water that results from diabetes, you will also likely experience polyurea – needing to go to the toilet far more than usual. It is also likely that because your urine will contain abnormally high levels of sugar, you will develop other conditions – notably thrush.
When you are suffering from undiagnosed diabetes, your cells are not receiving the energy that they are meant to, because there is not enough of the hormone insulin to complete the necessary reactions. This commonly results in fatigue, ranging from mild to chronic. If you have type 2 diabetes the fatigue you experience is likely to be less severe, as there is still a small amount of insulin that is still functioning. However, if you have type 1 diabetes, you are likely to experience chronic fatigue.
4. Unexpected Weight Loss
Undiagnosed diabetes impacts your body’s ability to absorb the necessary nutrients from your food. As a result, the body tries to break down already existing fats and uses this to generate energy instead. This often leads to unexpected weight loss, which is more rapid when you are suffering from undiagnosed type 1 diabetes. This weight loss is often experienced alongside fatigue and extreme hunger (discussed later in this list)
5. Cuts Take Longer to Heal
If you have undiagnosed diabetes, your blood sugar levels will be rising much higher than normal. This can affect your circulation, which in turn prevents blood from being able to reach areas of the body that need healing as fast as usual. This symptom can be harder to recognize but is one to be sure to look out for, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms in this list.
6. Blurred Vision
High blood sugar levels can cause issues with your eyesight. If your blood sugars are elevated, it can cause the lens in your eyes to swell, resulting in reoccurring blurred vision. This symptom is more serious, and more likely to be experienced if you are suffering from type 1 diabetes. However, if you are suffering from a severe case of type 2 diabetes, this can also become an issue. When experiencing problems with your sight, consult a health professional as quickly as you can, especially if you are experiencing them with other signs and symptoms.
7. Dry Mouth
This symptom is linked to extreme thirst and polyurea. Because water is getting consumed and expelled at a much faster rate than usual, dehydration is common. One of the most common signs of this dehydration is a very dry mouth. It is an easy symptom to recognize as it is often extreme enough to make the inside of the mouth feel sandpaper-like. This symptom is experienced by people suffering from both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
8. Extreme Hunger
People suffering from undiagnosed diabetes will often start feeling more hungry. As discussed previously in this list, diabetes prevents the body from absorbing the correct nutrients. The natural reaction to this is to ask for more – causing this hunger. These hunger pangs are often linked to the last symptoms on the list – cravings.
9. Sugar Cravings
This is a more specific type of hunger that is often experienced in line with hunger and thirst. The nutrient that the body is specifically lacking when it comes to diabetes is glucose – sugar – which is used for energy. It is common to find that you are specifically craving highly sugary foods when you have undiagnosed diabetes, as your body is asking for the sugar that it thinks it is lacking. As difficult as it may be, try your hardest to resist these cravings, as they are likely to only get worse as your blood sugar rises.