Could You Have Diabetes Mellitus: A complex disease, diabetes mellitus can go undetected for several years before finally being diagnosed. It is not uncommon to have this chronic illness, yet exhibit no symptoms. With the number of diabetics steadily increasing, diabetes education is crucial in the fight against this debilitating disease. Identifying and treating symptoms early on can make a critical difference in both the physical and emotional well-being of the diabetes patient.
Similarities in Type I and II Diabetes
A majority of the symptoms of Type I and II diabetes are very similar. In both forms, there is an excessive amount of glucose present in the blood, and an insufficient number of cells in the body. The difference in the two types all comes down to insulin. In Type I, insulin producing cells in the body have been destroyed, leading to an absence of insulin and extreme glucose levels. Those with Type II diabetes have developed a resistance to the insulin produced in the body.
Two of the most common symptoms of both forms of diabetes are excessive thirst and urination. Extreme thirst or polydipsia, is usually caused by high blood sugar. The body tries to neutralize these high levels by alerting the brain to dilute the blood. The brain ultimately interprets this as thirst. A second way the body attempts to rid itself of excess blood sugar is through excessive urination, or polyuria. This process can lead to dehydration, as large amounts of water are also excreted with the sugar.
There are several other signs and symptoms exhibited in Type I and II diabetes:
Fatigue is a notable symptom in the diabetes patient. As the body of a diabetic person is not able to use glucose for energy, it is sometimes forced to metabolize fat to use as a source of fuel. This metabolizing process uses a large amount of the body’s energy, causing an overall feeling of fatigue.
A susceptibility to infections is another sign of diabetes. There are certain infections that are a direct result of immune system suppression and existence of glucose in the tissues of the body. Frequent yeast infections, skin infections, or urinary tract infections are signs of blood sugar dysfunction present in diabetics.
Individuals affected by diabetes cannot process the calories in many of the foods they consume. Although an appropriate or sometimes extraordinary portion of food is eaten, many diabetics will lose a significant amount of weight. The excretion of both waters and sugar in the urine also adds to this weight loss.
Distinct Symptoms of Type I and II Diabetes
Often identified in childhood or early adolescence, the symptoms of Type I diabetes are often extremely dramatic, and appear very suddenly. Type I is often contributed to an illness or virus, and sometimes an injury. The initial signs of Type I Diabetes are fatigue, weight loss, extreme thirst and urination, and blurry vision. Infections of the genital region can also occur with Type I. If Type I diabetes is not treated in the early stages of the disease, the body begins producing chemicals known as ketones. Called diabetic ketoacidosis, this condition can cause stomach discomfort and vomiting, fatigue, and an increase in heart rate. If diabetic ketoacidosis is left untreated, coma or even death can result.
Type II diabetes often develops slowly, and can take many years to diagnose. The more common of the two forms, Type II is often attributed to obesity. Almost two-thirds of Type II diabetics report having no signs or symptoms of the disease. If symptoms are present, the most commonly encountered signs are, excessive thirst and urination, increased appetite, unusual weight loss, fatigue, and overall “sick” feeling. Left untreated, Type II diabetes can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, in addition to, kidney failure.