While both type 1 and type 2 diabetes share symptoms, type 2 diabetes can sometimes be a “silent” disease. This is because it develops gradually over a long time and sometimes can go unnoticed. When you know the signs and symptoms that come with type 2 diabetes, it would be easier to report your condition to your doctor. The intention is to get a diagnosis as early as possible and manage your blood sugar effectively and avoid some tricky situations. Below are some manifestations to be on the lookout for.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of diabetes:
- The three cardinal signs of diabetes: passing a higher volume of urine frequently, hunger, and feeling thirsty. Other symptoms are:
- Blurred vision
- Recurrent infections
- Areas of darkened skin
- Sores on feet that take long to heal
- Rapid weight loss
What should you do when you see any of these symptoms? Go to your doctor as fast as you can – it’s a life-changing decision.
Reasons behind the occurrence of these symptoms:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination: Your body has receptors all over that detect a higher than normal concentration blood glucose. In an attempt to eliminate the excess glucose in the urine, you will also lose water and this explains the accompanying thirst.
- Intense and increased hunger: Insulin is the hormone that allows tissues and muscles to utilize glucose to make energy. If cells cannot utilize glucose, muscles get weak and your brain compensates the relative lack of energy by increasing your appetite and hunger sensation.
- Decreased body weight: There are some “raw materials” that your body needs to generate energy. These include glucose, fat, and proteins. When there isn’t enough glucose, your body increases the metabolism of fat and proteins which explains why there is unwanted weight loss even with increased consumption.
- Increased Fatigue: When your cells don’t receive enough glucose, they don’t make energy and you feel weak.
- Blurred Vision: The deterioration of vision in a diabetic person is known as diabetic retinopathy. This complication usually develops in 10-15 years of the diagnosis because glucose draws water from the lens making eyesight weak, as well as changing some internal structures of the eye.
- Frequent infections and slow-healing sores: While glucose is the main energy source for bacteria and other microbes, it also reduces your body’s immune response increasing the risk of infections.
- Areas of darkened skin or skin pigmentation: People living with type 2 diabetes may have patches of skin that are darker than the rest of their skin, particularly on areas with skin folds or at the back of the neck, in the elbows, armpits, and knees. This condition, known as acanthosis nigricans, is prevalent in overweight and obese people.
What causes diabetes in the first place?
The real cause of diabetes was discovered after many years of research. Diabetes is a condition of carbohydrate (glucose) intolerance because of insufficient or no insulin production by the pancreas. One possible reason for developing diabetes is being overweight or overconsumption of carbohydrates that reduce the amount of glucose being metabolized at any given time. Doctors also reason that there is a link between genetic and environmental factors that cause the disease.
If your pancreas stops producing insulin, or your body becomes resistant to insulin, there is a chance that you will develop type 2 diabetes. Being overweight and sedentary are lifestyle risk factors for diabetes.
What is insulin?
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. The main function of glucose is to cause glucose to enter into cells. When blood glucose is high, more insulin is pumped into the bloodstream to increase utilization by cells and tissues. The endpoint after insulin release is reduced blood glucose.
The role played by glucose:
Glucose is the basic source of energy in the body. Insulin on the other hand is a protein hormone from the pancreas that facilitates the entry of glucose into cells of the body to create energy. All cells in the body use glucose to produce energy.
- Food is the source of glucose. In the body, your liver stores glucose in the form of glycogen.
- After digestion, absorbed glucose is transported in the blood to distant cells and utilized by the help of insulin.
- Stored glycogen in the liver can be converted back into glucose.
- The liver comes to play in the formation of glucose in cases of hunger or starvation. Stored glycogen is transformed into glucose using enzymes and provide energy for the body.
So what is the role of sugar?
Glucose is sometimes called sugar. The main source of energy for your muscles and brain is glucose. The main source of glucose is the food we eat. The creates energy for itself and converts the surplus sugar into glycogen and is stored in the liver. This conversion is under the influence of another hormone called glucagon. When your blood sugar is low, insulin is released and this causes the liver to convert more glycogen into sugar, and this keeps your blood sugar levels normal.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes – the different origins
Type 2 diabetes is thought to be as a result of insulin resistance. A higher supply of carbohydrates can overshadow the liver’s ability to produce insulin. Whereas type 2 diabetes is common in early adulthood and the elderly, type 1 diabetes is prevalent in children and adolescents. It occurs when your body creates antibodies that target your liver leading to a total lack of insulin. However, both diseases alter the way your body metabolizes glucose.
To wrap it up…
Diabetes is a long-term disease that needs constant monitoring of blood sugar. If you think that you are having problems maintaining steady numbers, you should talk with your doctor to iron things out. Good communication will make it easy for your doctor to solve any symptoms you have.
Remember that adequate control is also achieved with eating healthy food, being physically active and weight loss. Stay healthy to avoid hard-hitting complications.