Diabetes Symptoms

Most people with exhibit signs and symptoms, but there are certain differences between the symptoms exhibited by men, women, and children. Moreover, symptoms of type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes might differ.

What is a symptom?

A symptom is a characteristic of the disease experienced by the patient alone and is felt by him/her. Symptoms can be chronic, constitutional, or relapsing.

What is a sign?

The sign of the disease is something that is seen by the doctor and is objective. Temperature, pulse, blood pressure, cuts, rashes, wounds, and bruises are some of the signs observed by the doctor.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

Unlike type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes presents itself with strong symptoms in a short period of time.Here are a few typical symptoms.

  • Increased appetite and losing weight. This is because though blood sugars are high, cells cannot take in glucose and this leads to lack of energy and thus increased appetite. Weight loss occurs due to loss of muscle bulk.
  • Increased thirst, and urination. This occurs because excess sugar leaks into urine through the kidneys and pulls extra water along dehydrating the body. Urination levels increase unusually.
  • Tiredness at all times.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Muscle cramps.
  • Itching in the genital areas.
  • Skin infections.
  • Faster heart rate.
  • Headache.

In some cases, type 1 diabetes appears with some serious symptoms including:

  • Stomach pain.
  • High temperature.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Marked loss of appetite.
  • Fruity smell from the breath.

These symptoms are synonymous with a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a life-threatening condition and needs medical attention immediately.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Though some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to that of type 1, the onset of these are slower and sometimes unnoticeable. Some symptoms include:

  • Excessive Thirst.
  • Frequent urination, especially at night.
  • Increased hunger.
  • Weight loss.
  • Fatigue.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Wounds, cuts and sores that do not heal quickly.
  • Recurring skin infections.

Sometimes, type 2 diabetes can come up with symptoms that demand emergency medical attention. These include:

  • Shakiness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Faster heart rate.
  • Trouble thinking.
  • Sweating.
  • Headache.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational diabetes might not arrive with visible symptoms as these can be cloaked under the general side effects of pregnancy. Feeling tired and urinating more than often might happen in some pregnant women even without gestational diabetes.For this reason, pregnant women are generally tested for gestational diabetes with an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

Symptoms of gestational diabetes:

  • Frequent urination.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Fatigue.
  • Frequent infections of bladder, vagina, or skin.
  • Weight loss despite having increased appetite.

Symptoms of diabetes in Men:

The prevalence of diabetes is higher among men than in women. And, some of the symptoms of diabetes that men experience vary from those experienced by women.

Here are some symptoms of diabetes that are experienced especially by men.

  • Erectile Dysfunction. Since diabetes affects the nerves and blood vessels, damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the genital area causes erectile dysfunction.
  • Retrograde ejaculation. In this condition, some of the semen is released into the bladder.
  • Soreness during intercourse.
  • Recurrent yeast infections in the genital area.
  • Frequent urinary infections.
  • Reduced muscle strength due loss of muscle mass and resultant weight loss.

It is very important to get periodical medical checkups to test for diabetes. Also, one should not wait for the symptoms of diabetes to show up as damage starts even before the symptoms show up.

Symptoms of diabetes in Women

The prevalence of diabetes is lower in women when compared to men; however, this number is growing fast. While men experience certain symptoms typical to them, women also have specific symptoms of diabetes.

Moreover, apart from type 1 and type 2 diabetes, women can also have gestational diabetes, a form of glucose intolerance that occurs during pregnancy. Added to that, complications of diabetes are generally more difficult to manage in women.

Due to a difference in the makeup of the body and the hormonal system in particular, certain symptoms of diabetes vary in them.

Symptoms of diabetes in women:

  • Vaginal thrush.
  • Oral/vaginal yeast infections.
  • Vaginal discharge.
  • Pain during sex.
  • Frequent urinary infections.
  • Sexual dysfunction and reduction in sexual drive.
  • Inability to achieve orgasm.
  • Insulin resistance due to PCOS.

Symptoms of diabetes in Children

Approximately 90% of children affected by diabetes havetype 1 diabetes, the condition which develops rapidly over a few days to a few weeks, and people show early signs that remain common between adults and children.
You may suspect diabetes when the child shows any or more of the following symptoms.

  • Increased thirst and urination – occurs because the excess sugar leaks into urine through the kidneys and pulls extra water along dehydrating your body.
  • Weight loss despite eating excessively.
  • Fatigue making them feel tired and lethargic.
  • Headache.
  • Irritable behavior.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Yeast infections at the genitals for girls, seen as diaper rash for babies.

Sometimes, bedwetting in a child can be an initial sign of diabetes and may signal evaluation for diabetes.
Some symptoms of diabetes that occur particularly in children:

  • Stomachaches, which can be recurrent with unexplainable history of illness.
  • Headaches.
  • Blurred vision.

If early symptoms go unrecognized, at later stages, chemicals called ketones may build up in the child’s body and cause symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, breath having fruity-odor, difficulties in breathing, and even loss of consciousness which is a dangerous sign and requires immediate hospital admission for treatment.

Although type 2 diabetes is very uncommon in children, an extremely bad diet from a very young age, together with less physical activity and sedentary behavior can cause the child to develop type2 diabetes. If the child has type 2 diabetes, presence of symptoms is less likely; however, in some children, additional to one or more of the above symptoms, they may have:

  • Slow healing of injuries, sores or infections.
  • Darkening of certain skin areas.
  • Parents must be alert for any of these symptoms in their children, and on noticing any, must not delay an expert consult at any cost. This will help detect and treat juvenile diabetes early and reduce the onset and progression of complications.