Early symptoms of diabetes arise from high levels of glucose, or sugar, in the bloodstream. Type 1 diabetes often presents with severe symptoms that develop rapidly within a few days or weeks. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes symptoms can go unnoticed until additional chronic health issues emerge.
While some symptoms are common to both types of diabetes, they can be subtle and easily dismissed as minor inconveniences. It is concerning that a majority of individuals living with diabetes are unaware of their condition, as it delays necessary management and increases the risk of complications.
Here are eight warning signs to help catch diabetes early:
- Numbness in the fingers, toes, hands, and feet. This may indicate early-stage diabetes. It typically starts as a slight tingling or prickle, caused by increased blood sugar levels leading to restricted blood vessels and nerve damage.
- Frequent thirst. Elevated blood sugar levels cause dehydration as the body attempts to dilute excess sugar by drawing fluid from other tissues. This persistent dehydration can trigger thirst, regardless of the amount of water consumed.
- Extreme hunger. The body’s inability to extract sufficient energy from food due to insulin resistance or insufficient production prompts persistent hunger signals
- Unexplained weight loss. As the body fails to extract energy from glucose in food, it turns to alternative sources within the body, such as fat and protein stores.
- Fatigue. Inadequate energy production due to the body’s inability to convert glucose into usable energy with insulin can lead to persistent fatigue.
- Blurry vision. High blood sugar levels can cause blurry vision by damaging blood vessels and restricting fluid supply to the eyes.
- Chronic infections. Diabetics are more susceptible to infections due to the favourable environment high blood glucose provides for bacterial growth.
- Dark patches of skin. Diabetes can manifest in various skin conditions, ranging from dryness and itchiness caused by dehydration to a condition known as acanthosis nigricans.
If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if multiple symptoms are present, it is advisable to consult with a doctor and undergo a diabetes test.
Early detection when reversible symptoms are prevalent, is vital for effective management and prevention of severe complications.
Tristan Hall is an exercise physiologist at Full Circle Wellness. Call 0431 192 284 or visit fullcirclewellness.com.au