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The Diabetes Doctor Series - Part 2 - Symptoms of Diabetes

Updated on March 24, 2012

Diabetes Symptoms

It is important to know what the symptoms of diabetes are because this illness over a period of time can lead to some devastating complications such as blindness, amputations, heart disease and kidney damage. The sad fact about diabetes in the US is, as we mentioned in the first series 'What Is Diabetes?', there are some 7 million people walking around the streets of America who do not know they have this debilitating disease. We hope to address this issue in this guideline, and would urge you to read this hub so that you become familiar with what constitutes diabetes symptoms.

Symptoms for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

Why so many people do not know they have diabetes is because many of the symptoms have an alternative explanation. For example, an unusual thirst could be explained away by hot weather, or that one is exercising more. Also because the symptoms of diabetes appear quite harmless many people simply ignore them.

In recent studies it has been shown that the earlier diabetes symptoms are recognised and treated the better the prognosis for developing complications.

The symptoms may vary dependent on whether you are diagnosed as having Type I or Type II diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme Tiredness
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Mood swings and irritability

Pre-Diabetes Symptoms

Prediabetes symptoms may appear before people go on to develop type 2 diabetes. The main clue that they are in a state of pre-diabetes is a:

  • Higher than normal blood glucose levels but which are not quite high enough to give a diagnosis of diabetes.

In the US there are approximately 79 million people who have prediabetes and are unaware of the long-term damage it can cause to their heart and circulatory system.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Type 2 diabetes symptoms include any of the type 1 symptoms plus

  • Blurred vision
  • Itchy skin
  • Frequent infections
  • Blader infetions
  • Wounds slow to heal
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • Recurrent gum and skin problems

Do You Have Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes?

There are three types of diabetes, Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy). We are going to discuss the two major types 1 and 2 in this guideline and will give an entire guideline to gestational diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an auto immune disease where the immune system by mistake manufactures antibodies and inflammatory cells that attack the pancreas which is responsible for producing insulin. This results in the patient being immediately placed on an insulin injection regime because their pancreas is not making any insulin.

Type 1 diabetes is usually found in young people as young as a year old.

Type 2 Diabetes

Patients with Type 2 diabetes or adult onset diabetes mellitus are still able to produce insulin but it is usually not enough to allow glucose to be used by the body's cells (also known as insulin resistance).

Type 2 diabetes is often seen in people over the age of 40, although in African Americans and South Asian people appear to be at greater risk and may experience diabetes symptoms as early as the age of 25. Once again because of the epidemic numbers are increasing and we are seeing more and more children, and young people from all backgrounds developing type 2 diabetes.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above please make an appointment to see your physician and obtain the required treatment as soon as possible.

Next: Part 2 - Blood Glucose Testing

What Type Diabetes Do You Have

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    • editorsupremo profile image

      editorsupremo 5 years ago from London, England

      Thank you Lady E.

      You're right the food industry extracts all the nutrional goodness from our food and fills it with hormones, chemicals and pesticides. No wonder illnesses like diabetes and cancer are on the increase.

    • editorsupremo profile image

      editorsupremo 5 years ago from London, England

      Thanks CR. I would recommend following a Glycemic Index diet as it incorporates foods that do raise you blood glucose levels too quickly. Stick with the exercise and hopefully you won't succomb to this horrible disease.

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 5 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks for the useful info and for raising awareness. I think Diabetes is on the increase and I partially blame what the food industry put in our food.

      Happy Mothers Day. :-)

    • CR Rookwood profile image

      Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

      Very informative and helpful, thank you! I am trying to avoid Type 2 right now by exercising and limiting sugar and refined starch. Hope it works. :)

    • editorsupremo profile image

      editorsupremo 5 years ago from London, England

      Thanks for your comment KrystalD. I'm sorry to hear about your father, I hope he didn't suffer too much. You're so right so many people are suffering unnecessarily for lack of knowledge. That's why I decided to do the Diabetes Doctor Series and improve awareness of the problem.

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Thanks for this very clear, informative hub. My father died as a result of type 2 diabetes. Unfortunately, so many suffer from laco of awareness. Also, old habits can be so hard for people to break. Support groups really enriched and extended my father's life in the end. He was low income and unable to work yet he found wonderful people that were struggling to survive with the same problem. A hub on support groups/resources would be a great hub to link to what you have here.