Early Symptoms of Diabetes

Many of the early symptoms of diabetes could be overlooked, or attributed to other problems. Taken individually, the early symptoms could be dismissed as unimportant.

Educating yourself about the symptoms that appear at the onset of diabetes can help you to know when to see a doctor for diabetes testing. Diabetes can progress if it's not managed, leading to physical and neurological issues. As with many illnesses, early detection and treatment offers the best chance for avoiding serious complications.

What Is Diabetes?
In the broadest definition, diabetes is an imbalance in blood sugar levels. In a healthy person, the pancreas produces insulin, which manages glucose levels in the blood. A person with Type 1 Diabetes is unable to produce adequate amounts of insulin because the immune system has attacked the pancreas, rendering it unable to function as it should. This causes a glucose overload and high blood sugar levels.

A person with Type 2 Diabetes has become insulin-resistant. Glucose increases, rather than going to the places in the body where it's needed. This can cause high or exceptionally low levels of blood glucose. In both cases, blood sugar levels need to be managed, either by taking supplemental insulin, or by changing the diet and getting more exercise.

Early Symptoms of Diabetes

  • One telltale symptom of diabetes is persistent thirst. Watch for a need to drink more often than usual, regardless of heat, illness, exercise or temperature.
  • Continual hunger is a common early symptom. Soon after eating, you may feel hungry again, even if you just had a full meal.
  • Another diabetes symptom is having a repeated need to urinate, especially throughout the night and more often than normal during the day.
  • Early diabetes is characterized by strong feelings of fatigue. You may fall asleep suddenly, especially after a meal.
  • Sudden and uncharacteristic weight loss is a possible sign of early diabetes. Any sudden weight loss without explanation is a reason to make a doctor's appointment.

See Your Doctor
If you experience these symptoms, see your doctor as quickly as possible for a diagnosis and treatment plan. The sooner you manage symptoms, the better your quality of life will become. Left untreated, diabetes can cause blindness or severe damage to the arms and legs, sometimes requiring amputation.

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes can be as simple as watching what you eat and getting enough exercise. People with Type 1 Diabetes generally need to monitor their blood sugar levels several times a day, and inject insulin if glucose levels rise. Combined with diet changes and exercise, this can keep the serious complications of diabetes at bay.

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