What Are 10 Warning Signs of Diabetes?

Reviewed on 1/7/2022

Early symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased hunger, increased urination, fatigue, blurred vision, injuries that do not heal, frequent infections, darkened skin (armpits and neck), numbness, tingling, unexplained weight loss.
Early symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased hunger, increased urination, fatigue, blurred vision, injuries that do not heal, frequent infections, darkened skin (armpits and neck), numbness, tingling, unexplained weight loss.

Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body produces insufficient or no insulin, or doesn’t use insulin properly causing blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise (hyperglycemia). The pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that helps convert glucose from the food you eat into energy the body uses.

There are three main types of diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes (previously called insulin-dependent or juvenile diabetes)
    • Little to no insulin is produced by the pancreas
    • Is an autoimmune condition, which is chronic and will need to be managed for the rest of your life
    • Does not go away on its own
  • Type 2 diabetes
    • The most common form of diabetes 
    • The body doesn’t use insulin properly causing blood sugar levels to rise
    • May go away with proper diet, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and lifestyle changes
  • Gestational diabetes 
    • Disrupts the way the body uses sugar (glucose) during pregnancy
    • Occurs because pregnancy increases the body's need for insulin, but the body cannot always make enough
    • After delivery, gestational diabetes usually goes away and a woman’s blood sugar levels will return to normal

Ten common warning signs and symptoms of diabetes include:

  1. Increased thirst 
  2. Increased hunger, even though the person eats enough
  3. Increased urination
  4. Fatigue
  5. Blurred vision
  6. Sores/cuts/bruises that do not heal
  7. Frequent infections
  8. Darkened skin, often in the armpits and neck
  9. Numbness, tingling, or pain in the feet or hands (more common in type 2)
  10. Unexplained weight loss (more common in type 1)

What Causes Diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction in which the body attacks itself and destroys beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by diet or lifestyle factors.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by several factors, including: 

  • Genetics
    • Family history
    • Occurs more often in certain ethnic groups: African Americans, Alaskan Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, Native Hawaiians, or Pacific Islanders
  • Lifestyle factors 

The cause of gestational diabetes is not known, and it can be difficult to predict which women will develop the condition when they become pregnant

How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?

Diabetes is diagnosed with the following tests: 

  • A1C test 
  • Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test 
  • Glucose challenge test
  • Random plasma glucose (RPG) test 
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT)

QUESTION

______________ is another term for type 2 diabetes. See Answer

What Is the Treatment for Diabetes?

Diabetes is treated with lifestyle modifications and medications when needed. 

Lifestyle changes to manage diabetes include:

  • Check blood glucose levels daily
  • Manage A1C (average blood glucose level over the past 3 months)
  • Take prescribed diabetes medications 
  • Manage blood pressure 
  • Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
  • Follow a diabetes meal plan as recommended by your doctor or nutritionist
    • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, lean poultry and fish, and low-fat dairy
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Consume low-calorie, low-fat, low-sugar, and low-salt foods
  • Exercise regularly 
  • Don’t smoke
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Manage stress/practice relaxation techniques 

Medications used to treat diabetes include: 

  • Insulin 
  • Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors 
  • Amylin analog 
  • Biguanides 
  • Bile acid sequestrants 
  • Dopamine receptor agonists 
  • DPP- 4 Inhibitors 
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists 
  • Meglitinides 
  • SGLT2 inhibitors 
  • Sulfonylureas 
  • Thiazolidinediones 
  • Combination medicines, which may be made up of more than one medication in the above classes
  • Women with gestational diabetes may need insulin or metformin 

If lifestyle changes and medications do not adequately manage diabetes, other treatments may include: 

  • Weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery) for some patients who are obese
  • Artificial pancreas 

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Reviewed on 1/7/2022
References
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes

https://www.fda.gov/media/119148/download

https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type1.html

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/gestational-diabetes-beyond-the-basics?search=Gestational%20Diabetes%5C&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&display_rank=2