Early signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus often go undetected and un-noticed because they may not seem that serious! Picking up these at an early stage is the key to prevent the occurrence or the progress of diabetes mellitus and thus prevent complications.
In this post, We will look into the signs and symptoms of diabetes mellitus both in men and women.
Here, by Diabetes, I refer mostly to Type II Diabetes Mellitus unless otherwise specified. The signs and symptoms of diabetes are mostly due to an elevated levels of glucose in bood, which is medically known as hyperglycemia.
In type 1 diabetes, the symptoms can develop very quickly and significantly over the course of weeks or even days, specially in adolescents and young adults.
In Type 2 diabetes the symptoms tend to develop more slowly, usually over a period of months or years. It can also start from pre-diabetic stage. We have discussed some important basics of diabetes and the types of diabetes like the pre-diabetic stage in our previous posts.
Now! lets list out the Signs and symptoms of diabetes one by one! Please watch these signs carefully till the end, because you can not only prevent and control diabetes easily but these are also very good indicators of your blood sugar levels for treatment.
We will first look into the EARLY SIGNS & SYMPTOMS of Diabetes or Undiagnosed diabetes.
- The 3 P’s of Diabetes: Poyldipsia, Polyphagia and Polyuria.
Polydipsia means excessive thirst or excess drinking of water. Polydipsia is one of the earliest signs of diabetes. Of course, first you have to rule out other causes like dehydration, profuse sweating or the effect of certain medications.
Polyphagia or hyperphagia means excessive hunger or increased appetite. If this is the only symptom you have, rule out other causes like intensive exercise, depression, anxiety, stress and hyperthyroidism.
Polyuria means excessive urination or production of abnormally large volumes of dilute urine – more than 3 litres a day compared to the normal daily urine output in adults of about one to two litres. Polyuria is one of the main symptoms of diabetes (both type 1 and type 2 diabetes) and can lead to severe dehydration, which if left untreated can affect kidney function.
- Fatigue or Extreme Tiredness that doesn’t disappear with rest or sleep can be an early symptom of diabetes. Of course you need to rule out other causes like lack of sleep and other diseases like anaemia, cancer and depression.
Symptoms of fatigue include: – A lack of, or no energy, – Difficulty in carrying out simple everyday tasks, and – Feeling down or depressed.
- Unexplained weight loss that’s decrease in more than 5% of body weight that occurs unintentionally even without trying for it and can be an early warning sign of diabetes mellitus.
- Blurred Vision: This means loss of sharpness of vision and the inability to see fine details which can be one sided or bilateral. This has to be picked up and tested as early as possible and should never go untreated as it could be an indicator of another, more serious eye problem.
- Itching, specially around the genital area which is resistant to treatment with anti-allergic or antibiotics can be an indication of diabetes. Regular skin infections can also be a sign of diabetes like, bacterial infections in your eyelids, hair follicles, or even nails.
- Slow Healing of Cuts and Wounds can be a clue to pick up diabetes.
- Dizziness, Nausea and Vomitting can be some early symptoms of diabetes.
Now, Lets look into the symptoms of a well established or advanced diabetes. Apart from those we already discussed like the 3 P’s of diabetes, blurred vision, etc, the other symptoms are:
- Tingling or numbness in hands and feet.
- Erectile Dysfunction in men, like inability to achieve or maintain an erection. It can also be a symptom of many other health issues, including high blood pressure, stress, smoking, medication, etc.
- Urologic Issues like an overactive bladder and inability to control urination.
- Frequent or resistant urinary tract infections, which can lead to ascending infections to kidneys causing kidney infection medically known as pyelonephritis.
- Diabetes causes an increased risk for atherosclerosis or artery clogging which can lead to an increased incidence of cardiovascular disorders.
- Advanced Diabetes can affect every single organ in your body leading to many complication and multi-organ damages. We will discuss the complications of diabetes in another detailed episode.
Most of these signs and symptoms of diabetes are due reduced entry of glucose from the blood into cells to meet the energy needs of the body. You can check that detailed article on the basics of diabetes and the mechanism.