Diabetes is a disease in which the body is either unable to produce enough insulin or is unable to process the insulin that is produced. When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, it means that their body can no longer process sugars properly. Their blood levels of glucose have become very high. High levels of blood sugar can lead to many serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney damage, blindness, ulcers, infections, gangrene and even premature death.
There are three main types of diabetes.
- Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, previously known as juvenile diabetes. Type 1 happens because the immune system turns against the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas.
- Type 2 Diabetes is the most common form. A person with type 2 diabetes either produces too little insulin to regulate blood sugar, or his or her body’s cells become resistant to insulin and can’t use it properly.
- Gestational Diabetes is a disease that affects 5 percent to 10 percent of women during and after pregnancy.
Signs and symptoms of early diabetes are easy to brush off as they may seem harmless. Recognizing early symptoms can help you get the disease under control sooner and prevent damage.
Common warnings signs of diabetes include:
- Frequent urination. The kidneys kick into high gear to get rid of all that extra glucose in the blood which is released in urine.
- Increased thirst. Because you urinate more, you also get dehydrated and need to drink more in order to replenish fluids.
- Increased hunger. Hunger can occur because a diabetic’s body doesn’t use insulin properly, so the body feels depleted of energy.
- A general fatigued feeling. A diabetic’s body no longer responds properly to insulin and the body’s cells can’t absorb the blood glucose. This results in fatigue.
- Dark skin patches, usually under the arms.
- Blurry vision. When blood glucose levels are high for an extended period of time, the shape of the lens of the eye can change and result in vision changes.
- Itchy, dry skin. This is caused by poor circulation; our sweat glands will often become dysfunctional, resulting in irritated skin.
- Numbness. Tingling in the hands, fingers, legs, and feet is an early warning sign of diabetes.This occurs due to an increase in blood sugar levels, causing blood vessel restriction to the extremities, and eventually damage to nerve fibers.
- Frequent or recurring infections.
- Wounds that heal slowly. Diabetes can cause poor circulation which in turn causes wounds to heal slower than normal.