Since the symptoms of type 2 diabetes usually develop very slowly, diabetes is sometimes not discovered right away. The most obvious symptom is usually increased thirst, but the late symptoms can also be noticeable. If you have the slightest suspicion, have your blood glucose levels checked immediately by a doctor!
The most common symptoms in diabetes:
The following symptoms occur in diabetes when blood glucose levels are too high, resulting in metabolic derailment.
– strong feeling of thirst – increased urge to urinate – poor wound healing – itching – tiredness and feeling of weakness – increased susceptibility to infections – calf cramps
Additionally typical for diabetes type 1
– Weight loss – ravenous appetite – alarm signal ketoacidosis with acetone odor of the breath (call an emergency doctor, in extreme cases diabetic coma is imminent)
Late effects if type 2 diabetes has not been treated (> secondary diseases)
– visual disturbances – nerve damage – diabetic kidney disease
How do these symptoms of diabetes mellitus occur??
This is how an increased urge to urinate and strong thirst are connected
The first main symptoms include an increased urge to urinate (polyuria). This is caused by the body wanting to get rid of the excess sugar in the blood via the kidneys and producing more urine. In addition, the sugar binds to water, causing patients to urinate large amounts, especially at night. With the water, the minerals dissolved in it, such as magnesium, are increasingly excreted, so that calf cramps can occur.
This increased urine output leads to severe thirst
Since the body loses a lot of water, those affected suffer from very strong thirst. Many diabetics think that the many trips to the toilet are quite normal, since they drink so much. But it is the other way around and the cause is the increased blood sugar and the associated increased urge to urinate. The feeling of thirst is the result of fluid loss and not the cause.
Itching due to loss of fluid from the skin
What plagues many diabetics is dry skin, combined with itching and impaired wound healing. The loss of fluid described above leads to dehydration of the skin and delayed healing of wounds. In the course of the disease, if nerve involvement has already occurred, the activity of the sebaceous and sweat glands may be additionally disturbed, which intensifies the skin symptoms.
Higher susceptibility to infections
Elevated blood sugar together with dry skin and mucous membranes can also cause sufferers to have a weakened immune system and show increased susceptibility to colds, fungal infections and bladder infections.
Diabetes symptom: constant fatigue and lack of energy
Another sign associated with elevated blood sugar is that sufferers feel listless and tired. The reason is the following: all cells need sugar for energy production. If insulin deficiency prevails, however, not enough sugar is transported to the cell and is then lacking for energy production. Those affected suffer from constant fatigue, they are weak and powerless. Our brain in particular needs a lot of sugar – but if it is lacking, this organ can no longer do its job one hundred percent. This can lead to a lack of concentration and even impaired consciousness.
Typical symptoms of type 1 diabetes
Type 1 sugar patients often experience unwanted weight loss. The affected person eats normally, but still loses weight. Why? If there is not enough insulin, the cells can only absorb very little sugar. As an alternative the body is looking for another energy source. It therefore attacks fat, protein and muscle mass to provide energy.
Typical symptoms of gestational diabetes
The symptoms described above of a Diabetes mellitus such as strong thirst and increased urination are often only very mild in gestational diabetes. Since so much has changed in the expectant mother's body anyway, these complaints are also not particularly noticed. signs like frequent bladder infections or vaginal infections by mushrooms, however, can indicate gestational diabetes. If you suspect this, be sure to consult your gynecologist.
Complications from hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia
Symptoms of hypoglycemia
A frequent acute complication is hypoglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. This is especially the case in patients who inject insulin or take sulfonylureas. If blood glucose drops below 70 mg, signs include sweating, palpitations, and pallor around the mouth. If the value drops even further, those affected suffer from headaches, speech disorders, visual disturbances and lack of concentration. In this case, fast carbohydrates, for example in the form of dextrose ( glucose ), are required. Unfortunately, patients do not always notice the signs of hypoglycemia right away.
Symptoms of hyperglycemia (ketoacidosis)
As an acute complication not only hypoglycemia but also hyperglycemia is possible. This applies especially to diabetes type 1 patients. At absolute insulin deficiency for a long time there is also a severe lack of energy in the body cells. In search of other energy sources, the body begins to break down its fat reserves, which it breaks down to the level of ketone bodies.
This ketone excess massively upsets the acid-base balance and leads to hyperacidity, up to the threatening condition of ketoacidosis, which in the worst case leads to a diabetic coma. The ketone bodies contain acetone, which is excreted in the urine, but also through the breath. The smell of acetone on the breath resembles nail polish or rotten apples.
This breathing odor is an absolute Warning signs of an incipient diabetic coma. An emergency doctor should be called immediately.
Less obvious in ketoacidosis are symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, which occur because the peritoneum is severely irritated by hyperacidity.
Insulin pump therapy for risk prevention
Insulin therapy with the aid of an insulin pump is a good way of minimizing complications such as hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and the risk of ketoacidosis and diabetic coma. The pump constantly delivers insulin to the body. If necessary, the patient can still "request" additional insulin from the outside.
Further treatment and dietary tips for diabetes mellitus
Regardless of whether type 1 or type 2 diabetes is present, the attending physician will give the patient individual dietary tips. Generally speaking, the diet of diabetics should be wholesome, healthy and rich in vegetables. Now and then even feasting is allowed. In the case of type 2 diabetes, the treatment of obesity is also urgent; in addition to diet, exercise and sport also help here. In the further course of therapy, oral antidiabetic drugs are also used.
Late symptoms due to secondary diseases
If elevated blood sugar levels persist for a long period of time, irreversible damage to blood vessels, nerves and even organs are the result. Since untreated diabetes progresses slowly, over years and completely unnoticed, secondary damage is already present at the time of diagnosis.
Nerve damage (diabetic polyneuropathy). It manifests itself by problems with pain and/or temperature sensation. But it can also be chronic pain, paralysis and / or insensitivity. Calf cramps that start suddenly out of the blue are also possible. Diabetic foot: The diabetic foot is also one of the consequences of nerve damage in connection with constantly elevated sugar levels. The sensation of pain is diminished, minor injuries to the feet remain unnoticed. Wounds develop that heal poorly and become infected. Due to the circulatory disturbances, which usually exist at the same time as the nerve damage, these skin lesions can then spread relatively unnoticed into the depths of the tie. In severe cases, amputation of the foot is sometimes necessary.
Visual disturbances: The chronic increase in blood sugar can damage the vessels of the retina in the eye. Initially unnoticed, but when major changes have occurred in the retina, this leads to initial problems. Those affected by it have difficulty reading, the colors are seen differently, pictures are blurred. This damage (diabetic retinopathy) can lead to complete loss of vision.
When to see a doctor
In case of conspicuous thirst and excessive urination, one should have a thorough check-up. In principle, even being overweight is a reason for an annual visit to the doctor. The family doctor can determine how great the personal risk of diabetes is.