Diabetes is a serious but common medical condition. If you have diabetes, you need to monitor your blood sugar levels and monitor them regularly to make sure they are within your target range.
There are some types of diabetes, although the two main types are type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. They differ based on their causes.
You may have sudden symptoms of diabetes or the diagnosis may surprise you because symptoms have been gradual over many months or years.
Warning signs of diabetes.
Symptoms of diabetes can occur over time or they can come on quickly. Different types of diabetes can have similar or different warning signs. Some general warning signs of diabetes are:
- but extremes
- dry mouth
- frequent urination
- irritable behavior
- blurry vision
- wounds that don’t heal quickly
- itchy or dry skin
- yeast infections
Other Type 1 Warning Signs
Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. A child may experience these additional symptoms:
- sudden and involuntary weight loss
- bed-wetting after a history of being dry at night
- a yeast infection in a prepubertal girl
- flu-like symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, fruity breath odor, trouble breathing, and loss of consciousness
Flu-like symptoms occur when undiagnosed diabetes causes ketones to build up in the bloodstream. This condition is called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). CAD is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical treatment.
Other type 2 warning signs
You may not notice sudden symptoms of type 2 diabetes, but the warning signs mentioned above can alert you to an underlying condition. You may be diagnosed with diabetes because you see a doctor for:
- Persistent infections or a slow-healing wound
- Complications that are associated with prolonged high blood sugar levels, such as numbness or tingling in the feet
- Heart problems
You may never experience obvious warning signs. Diabetes can develop over the course of many years, and the warning signs can be subtle.
Who is at risk for diabetes?
Diabetes can happen at any time. There are certain risk factors for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This is not an exhaustive list and even adults can end up with type 1 diabetes, although it is rare.
You may experience one or more of the warning signs associated with diabetes. If so, contact your doctor to make an appointment.
You may also discover a diagnosis of diabetes after visiting the doctor for another condition or for a routine blood test.
If you suspect you may have diabetes, make an appointment with your doctor. They will want to know:
- Your symptoms
- Family history
You should also have a list of questions to ask your doctor regarding your warning signs or the condition itself.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and may decide to do some tests.
There are several tests to diagnose diabetes:
- A1C: This test shows what your average blood glucose level has been for the past 2 to 3 months. This does not require you to fast or drink anything.
- Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG): You will need to fast for at least 8 hours before this test.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance (OGTT): This test takes 2 to 3 hours. Your blood glucose levels are initially tested and then repeated at intervals for 2 hours after consuming a specific sweet drink.
- Random Plasma Glucose Test – This test can be done at any time and you do not need to be fasting.
Diabetes can be treated in a number of ways. Diet, physical activity, and careful monitoring are important if you have diabetes, no matter what type of diabetes you have.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin injections for the rest of your life. That is because your body does not make insulin.
If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to control your condition with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. You may also need to take injectable or oral medications, such as insulin or metformin, to control your blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, you will need to carefully monitor your diet to prevent blood sugar levels from getting too high. Typically this means watching your carbohydrate intake and limiting low-fiber and over-processed foods.
Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you control your blood sugar levels.
Talk to your doctor if you think you have diabetes. Managing your condition and managing it effectively is key to managing your symptoms and preventing more serious health problems.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to control your glucose levels by matching your insulin to your diet and activity. If you have type 2 diabetes, you can control your blood sugar levels with diet and activity alone, or add medications as needed.
Diabetes is a progressive disease that may require reassessment and a change in treatment plan over time.
Diabetes may not be prevented in all cases. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. You may be able to lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by controlling your diet and staying active. However, genetics and other risk factors can increase your risk despite your best efforts.
Even if you have a diagnosis of diabetes, you can live a full life. Diabetes requires careful planning and control, but it shouldn’t stop you from participating and enjoying daily activities.