According to statistics, about 400 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes mellitus. But given the fact that this chronic disease can be latent for a long time, we can say that the actual number of diabetics is 2 – 3 times higher than the above figure.
That is why diabetes mellitus is called a “silent killer,” because while you live everyday life, not paying attention to slight fatigue, skin condition, or unexplained thirst; diabetes quietly and gradually destroys your body from the inside.
The fact is that high blood sugar levels disrupt carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism, which leads to damage to the skin, vision, kidneys, nervous system, oral cavity, and other vital organs.
Let’s talk about early symptoms of diabetes that cannot be ignored!
1. Frequent urination
In healthy people, 6 – 7 (up to 10) acts of urination per day are considered the norm.
With diabetes mellitus, the absorption of glucose is slowed down, which leads to an increase in its content in the blood. As a result, the kidneys begin to work with a vengeance to remove excess glucose in the urine, which leads to frequent and profuse urination.
Therefore, if you use the bathroom more than ten times a day and urinate worse at night, check your sugar level.
2. Unquenchable thirst
Frequent urination leads to dehydration, which is why a patient with diabetes mellitus constantly wants to drink (he can consume up to 5 litres of water per day).
In addition, with diabetes, there may be dryness and a metal taste in the mouth.
Important! Quenching your thirst with sweet soda water or juices only aggravates the situation since blood sugar rises even more, which provokes an increase in thirst.
3. Severe hunger
Glucose is the body’s primary source of energy. In diabetes mellitus, cells do not metabolize glucose, which leads to hunger at the cellular level and the search for other sources of energy.
This source is most often carbohydrates, which are found in large quantities in sweets.
BUT! Increasing the amount of food consumed increases blood sugar levels so that the feeling of hunger does not go away even after eating.
To break this vicious circle, you need to eat fractionally and in small portions.
4. Chronic fatigue
In diabetes mellitus, insulin cannot deliver glucose to cells, resulting from which the body experiences a severe deficiency of oxygen, calories, and nutrients needed to maintain energy.
Frequent nighttime urination is also exhausting, which deprives a person of good rest.
The result is fatigue, weakness, and “weakness” in the morning, not to mention decreased performance.
Ignoring these symptoms can lead to physical and psycho-emotional exhaustion, irritability, and depression!
5. Visual impairment
With an increased level of glucose in the blood, oxygen starvation of the retina, edema of the lens, and damage to the capillaries occur, negatively affecting the quality of vision.
If you begin to notice that your vision has lost its clarity, objects have become blurry. The image seems to be shrouded in fog. It is generally challenging to focus on details; this may indicate a high blood sugar level.
Importantly, stabilizing blood sugar will restore vision to pre-diabetes levels.
Lack of treatment, in this case, is fraught with the development of diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts, which can cause blindness.
6. Weight loss and gain
Rapid weight loss occurs in type 1 diabetes, which is characterized by absolute insulin deficiency.
With type 1 diabetes, a person without any diet and exercise can quickly lose from 5 to 10 kg in 2 to 3 months, which is due to several reasons:
- dehydration due to frequent urination
- by compensating for insulin with proteins found in muscles and used by the body as an alternative energy source.
In type 2 diabetes, a person gains weight dramatically because the body’s insulin, which is present in excess, stimulates fat storage.
In any case, sudden weight changes should alert you and become a reason to see a doctor.
7. Itching and dry skin
With high blood sugar levels, the function of the sebaceous and sweat glands is impaired, which leads to dryness and sensitivity of the skin.
In addition, the skin’s protective barrier is reduced, making it more susceptible to the adverse effects of infections, allergens, and toxins.
If your abdomen, elbows, and perineum are itchy even when using moisturizers, this could indicate diabetes.
8. Slow wound healing
In diabetes mellitus, the walls of the arteries thicken, and the blood vessels narrow, thereby disrupting blood circulation and causing oxygen starvation of cells and tissues, which, in combination with low immunity, significantly slows down the wound healing process.
9. Dark spots on the skin
The high insulin content in the blood provokes rapid cell reproduction, which causes darkening of the skin, which acquires a velvety texture.
The skin darkens in the neck, armpits, groin, knuckles, and the inner side of the elbow.
This pigmentation is a sign of diabetes and pre-diabetes.
10. Diabetic dermatopathy
Diabetic dermatopathy is rightfully considered one of the frequent manifestations of diabetes mellitus.
With this pathology, brown bumps are formed on the anterior surface of the leg, which can reach 5-12 mm in diameter. Subsequently, the nodes are transformed into pigmented painless atrophic spots, which disappear without any specific treatment after 1 – 2 years.
11. Fungal infection
Diabetes mellitus lowers the immune system, resulting from which the body is susceptible to various infections, while the genitourinary system is significantly affected.
Primarily the skin is affected by fungi of the genus Candida albicans, and older people who are overweight are most susceptible to this fungus. The infection is localized in ample folds of the skin, in the interdigital region, on the mucous membrane of the genitals.
Initially, a strip of the white colour is formed in the fold, which is a keratinized layer of the skin, after which cracks and erosion of a blue-red colour appear, which are difficult to treat. The situation is aggravated by intolerable itching, which torments both day and night.
Therefore, when the first symptoms of candidiasis appear, it is necessary to urgently consult a doctor, which will help stop the process at an early stage.
12. Dental problems
Yeast fungi of the genus Candida affect the skin and the oral mucosa, which is why gum diseases such as stomatitis and periodontal disease often develop in diabetes mellitus.
13. Numbness, pain, and tingling in the hands or feet
Poor blood circulation negatively affects the conduction of nerve impulses. And since the hands and lower limbs are located farthest from the heart, they are the first to suffer.
If your arms and legs become numb while you are regularly tormented by aching pains and a tingling sensation in the extremities, take a blood sugar test.
If you find one or more of the listed symptoms, immediately visit an endocrinologist or therapist!
Remember that early diagnosis of diabetes and maintenance of blood sugar levels within the normal range can prolong life!