Diabetes is a scary disease with a variety of alarming symptoms.
According to the Center for Disease Control And Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, around 30.3 million people in the United States suffer from diabetes.
That means that almost 10% of our national population is diabetic.
So what exactly is diabetes? According to the Mayo Clinic, “If you have diabetes, no matter what type, it means you have too much glucose in your blood, although the causes may differ. Too much glucose can lead to serious health problems.”
There are two types of chronic diabetes: type 1 and type 2.
In type 1 diabetes, the body doesn’t produce enough insulin, which means the body can’t process sugar properly. Generally, type 1 diabetes appears during childhood or adolescence.
In type 2 diabetes, the body resists insulin or doesn’t produce enough of it. Usually, type 2 diabetes is caused by genetics, but inactivity and excess weight gain may contribute.
Although they’re different, both types of diabetes have some of the same symptoms.
Symptom #1: Increased Urination
One of the common symptoms of diabetes is increased urination, also known as polyuria.
When sugar builds up in your blood due to diabetes, your kidneys have to work harder to filter out and absorb all the sugar.
If your kidneys become overworked and can’t keep up, the sugar is expelled in your urine — and the sugar drags fluids from the rest of your body with it, explains the Mayo Clinic.
Symptom #2: Increased Thirst
Urinating more may make you dehydrated, which will make you thirsty.
As you drink more fluids, you’ll also have to urinate more — this can turn into a cycle of drinking and peeing more than usual.
Symptom #3: Frequent And Slow-Healing Infections
The Mayo Clinic explains that another common symptom of diabetes is slow-healing or frequent infections.
They wrote, “Some of the signs and symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are slow-healing sores and frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections.”
Symptom #4: Blurred Vision
Just as high levels of blood sugar can pull fluid from your tissues and dehydrate you, the disease can also pull fluid from the lenses of your eyes.
When your lenses aren’t moist enough, your eyes lose their ability to focus.
If these symptoms are caught early, they can be treated easily — if not, they can lead to vision loss and blindness.
Symptom #5: Breath That Smells Like Nail Polish Remover
One of the symptoms that surprise people most is a change in the way your breath smells.
If your breath suddenly smells like nail polish remover or smells strangely fruity, it could be a symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis, explains the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Symptom #6: Extreme Hunger
Extreme hunger, or polyphagia, often occurs in the early stages of diabetic ketoacidosis.
When your body doesn’t properly regulate your blood sugar, your cells don’t have the energy they need to function — instead, your cells signal to you that you need to keep eating.
Symptom #7: Unexplained Weight Loss
Most people see unexplained weight loss as a blessing, but it can actually be a sign of diabetes.
This is most common in type 1 diabetes, where people will be constantly hungry and lose weight very rapidly.
“Weight fluctuations also fall under the umbrella of possible diabetes signs and symptoms,” explains the Mayo Clinic.
Symptom #8: Fatigue And Irritability
When you’re suffering from dehydration — which is common with diabetes — you may start to feel fatigued and irritable.
Your body may also feel exhausted if you have diabetes, due to your body’s inability to use food’s energy properly.
Symptom #9: Tingling, Pain, Or Numbness In Hands And Feet
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, around 60 or 70% of people with diabetes have some type of nerve damage, known as diabetic neuropathy.
Some of the primary symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are “numbness, tingling, or pain in the toes, feet, legs, hands, arms, and fingers.”
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