What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Diabetes is not a single disease, but a combination of diseases that affect the metabolism. All these diseases have a whole set of common elements, which are summarized in the following disorders:
Low secretion or reduced effect of the hormone insulin produced in the pancreas, which allows blood sugar to penetrate the cells of the human organism.
Hyperglycemia, i.e. a blood sugar concentration above normal values in the fasting state, above 126 milligrams per deciliter.
Initial symptoms of diabetes mellitus type 1
Diabetes mellitus type 1 occurs suddenly and is known as insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes (it manifests itself in the first years of life and occurs until the age of 20). It is characterized by the (autoimmune) destruction of over 90% of pancreatic cells that produce insulin.
There are two stages of type 1 diabetes, which are characterized by different symptoms. A first stage, in which the so-called early symptoms manifest themselves, and then stage two with the later symptoms, which are mostly long-term consequences of the disease.
First symptoms of type 1 diabetes:
- Hyperglycemia can be detected with blood tests, there is an increase in blood sugar levels above the norm.
- Glucosuria, i.e. the occurrence of sugar in the urine. It is determined by a urine test. If the blood sugar concentration is more than 160-180 mg / dl, the kidneys can no longer filter the sugar and the passage into the urine begins, in which traces of it are found.
In pharmacies, special test strips are sold, which contain a substance that reacts upon contact with urine and changes color when sugar is present.
- Polyuria, i.e. the production of a daily amount of urine of more than 2.5 liters (physiological urine production is 2 l/day). Increasing the concentration of sugar in the urine stimulates the kidneys to excrete more water for dilution.
- Polydipsia, which manifests itself in excessive thirst. The massive production of urine creates an abnormal thirst stimulus in the diabetic, who thereby drinks large amounts of fluids.
- Weight loss. The loss of calories through the urine leads to unjustified weight loss compared to the amount of calories consumed.
- Polyphagia. The patient’s body reacts to weight loss by increasing the feeling of hunger. The result is greater food consumption, which does not lead to weight gain.
- Asthenia or weakness even after rest or after light exertion.
- Blurred vision. Elevated sugar levels lead to lens swelling, which is responsible for this disorder.
- Tinnitus. Intoxication in one or both ears, caused by hyperglycemia-related problems in the small blood vessels of the inner ear.
- Hypoglycemia. Treatment of the disease with insulin can lower blood sugar levels to below 50 mg/dl. This abnormal level is called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia leads to: tremors, sweating, sleep and coma.
- Ketoacidosis is a typical symptom of type 1 diabetes mellitus, which is characterized by insulin deficiency.
In this state, the cells cannot use the sugar to produce the vital energy. They therefore use the fatty acids of the fat cells. The metabolic reactions activated for this purpose produce waste products known as ketone bodies, which cause acidification of the blood: ketoacidosis. This disease is especially serious in children and can quickly lead to death if left untreated. The first signs of ketoacidosis are nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, hyperventilation (increasing the rate and depth of breathing with the aim of increasing the pH in the blood), bad breath after acetone, which is present in the blood and is excreted through breathing.
Initial symptoms of diabetes mellitus type 2
Type 2 diabetes mellitus begins slowly and is known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes or diet-related diabetes. In this type, the pancreatic cells produce insulin in normal amounts, but the organism develops a kind of insulin resistance. Therefore, it is not sufficient.
Possible early symptoms:
- Obesity, which does not always occur, but is often associated with this type of diabetes.
- Hyperglycemia. In many cases, it belongs to the category of “abnormal fasting glucose” or “IFG”, with concentrations of blood sugar between 100 and 125 mg/dl.
- Glucosuria is often absent at the beginning or has low values, but tends to show up with age, but in moderation.
- Dehydration starts lightly, but tends to worsen over the years.
- Hypertriglyceridemia. The blood concentration of triglycerides exceeds 200 mg/dl. This symptom is not always present, but very likely.
- Hyperuricemia. The concentration of uric acid in the blood exceeds 6.5-7 mg/dl. Not always available.
- Hypertension. Not always available.
- weakness and drowsiness.
- Visual disturbances and blurred vision.
- Hypoglycemia. Treatment may result in blood glucose levels below 50 mg/dl. This is called hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia causes: tremors, pathologically deep sleep and coma.
- Hyperosmolar hyperglycemic coma. It is typical for type 2 diabetes. In this type of disease, with massively elevated blood glucose levels (in some cases above 1000 mg/dl), hyperosmolar hyperglycemic coma develops, which occurs together with: severe dehydration, clouding of consciousness, drowsiness and coma.
Long-term symptoms and complications of diabetes mellitus type 1 and 2
The disease affects over time the following organs and tissues: blood vessels, blood, skin and mucous membranes, kidneys, autonomic nervous system, motor and sensitive nerves, eyes, connective tissue.
Therefore, late symptoms and complications may develop.
- Arteriosclerotic plaques. Close large and medium arteries and increase the likelihood of ischemia, infarction and stroke. Reduce blood flow to small vessels and lead to healing problems, impotence, etc.
- impairment of leukocyte functions. Increases the likelihood of contracting banal infections such as cystitis and skin infections.
- Ulcers and infections. Caused by circulatory disorders in the periphery in the skin and mucosal area. Typical is the constant inflammation of the throat.
- Renal insufficiency.
- Fluctuations in blood pressure. Caused by impairment of the autonomic nervous system.
- Gastrointestinal and swallowing disorders. Caused by damage to the nerves of the autonomic nervous system that control said functions.
- Impairment of peripheral nerves responsible for the sensitivity and movement of the limbs. Sensory disturbances, tingling, numbness of the extremities.
- Retinal disease (retinopathy), glaucoma, blindness. Caused by damage to the walls of the small blood vessels of the eye.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome. Pressure on the forearm and median nerve connecting the hand in the area of the carpal tunnel (between wrist and carpal root). This occurs due to the thickening of the connective tissue, which in turn is caused by the poor sugar metabolism.
- The diabetic foot is characterized by an ulcer in the foot area in patients suffering from diabetes mellitus type 1 and type 2 and is one of the typical late symptoms. The percentage of sufferers who have this foot problem is very high. Statistical studies speak of figures exceeding 20%. In the West, surgical amputations of toes or whole limbs due to diabetes-related ulcers are 70%. The reason for this is that diabetes can cause damage to the nerves of the lower extremities, as a result of which these body zones are disturbed in their sensitivity. The impairment of the sensitive foot nerves can easily lead to injuries and the reduced functionality of the leukocytes favors the formation of ulcers that heal very slowly.
The infections can lead to tissue necrosis (gangrene) due to poor circulation. It happens that the affected person does not become aware of the existing infection and, consequently, the treatment is not carried out in time. Scientific research has shown that early diagnosis greatly improves the treatment of these complications.
Symptoms of gestational diabetes
Increasing hormone levels during pregnancy can alter sugar metabolism, requiring an increased amount of insulin. As a result, gestational diabetes can manifest itself. It usually disappears after birth, but its presence increases the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes at an advanced age.
The symptoms are:
- Polyuria (pathologically increased urine output)
- Polydipsia (pathologically increased thirst)
- Weight loss with a good appetite
- Frequent infections, especially on the genitourinary tract
- Visual impairment
Symptoms of derailed diabetes
One speaks of derailed diabetes when blood sugar levels are out of control for a long time. The characteristic symptom is then a glycated hemoglobin of over 8%. Glycated hemoglobin is a parameter linked to the mean lifespan of red blood cells, which is 120 days. The measurement of this value is carried out during the blood test, which shows the blood sugar level of the last two months.
Symptoms of diabetes insipidus
Diabetes insipidus is not caused by an impairment of insulin production or by a resistance of the organism to its action, but by an excessive loss of fluid, which the body is unable to retain. Therefore, diabetes insipidus and diabetes mellitus have polyuria in common. Diabetes insipidus occurs in 2 types: central and renal. The symptoms are:
- Dehydration – excessive dehydration leads to cerebral damage, which manifests itself with: lack of coordination and behavioral disorders