Diabetes is a serious condition that affects nearly 26 million people in the United States alone. The disease is a result of the overproduction or underproduction of the hormone insulin. There are many contributing factors that determine whether someone develops diabetes, including genetics and lifestyle choices. According to this article, diabetes affects women, men and children alike. Here, we will help individuals who think they have the disease determine the symptoms and signs they need to look out for. With no cure for diabetes, it is imperative that sufferers know the difference between its three types and are able to recognize whether they are afflicted by it so that they can manage their health better.
Signs of Diabetes in Children
Type 1 diabetes is associated with children and young adults. With this type of diabetes, the body does not produce insulin at all and, as a result, diabetics are not able to convert sugar into energy. Diabetic children are generally predisposed to the condition, but it can be managed by watching blood glucose and insulin levels, as well as exercising and following a proper diet.
Signs of Type 1 Diabetes in Children
Thirst — Thirst is a very common sign of all three types of diabetes. High sugar levels in the blood cause the body to take water from other areas, including the muscles, and this increases children’s thirst. They will also need to use the bathroom more frequently as a result of the condition.
Weight loss — This article on Mayo Clinic states that shrinking muscles is a noticeable sign that your child may have type 1 diabetes. Muscles shrink because they are not able to get all the nutrients necessary to sustain their growth. Individuals who are pre-diabetic can lose weight and significantly reduce their chances of developing the disease.
Lack of energy — Since they are not getting the nutrients needed to fuel their daily activities through food, diabetic children will not have a lot of energy, and they can also easily become stressed and frustrated during situations that may seem uneventful to others.
Vision problems — Pressure from fluid buildup in the eyes can impact a diabetic’s ability to see. Individuals with diabetes can develop glaucoma and blindness as a result of the extra fluid in their eyes.
Yeast infections — From babies to young girls, type 1 diabetes increases the chances of having yeast infections. Boys can also have them, but they are more prevalent in girls.
Children may not have all of these symptoms but the presence of some of them is a sign that parents should take their child to see a medical professional.
Signs of Type 2 Diabetes in Adults
Women and men who have type 2 diabetes and do not know it actually portray various signs of the condition. Some people may not have all diabetes symptoms, but not displaying all the symptoms does not mean that they are not diabetic, and vice versa. In addition to the signs highlighted above, adults can also have the following symptoms:
Acanthosis nigricans — As explained by Mayo Clinic, this is a skin condition that results in dark, thick patches of skin in certain areas of the body. These patches are a result of poor circulation and can appear on the neck, thighs and armpits of individuals affected by type 1 diabetes. People commonly mistake this condition for poor hygiene.
Granuloma annular — This is a skin condition in which diabetics develop raised rings on their skin. The rings can be located anywhere on the body, but are most often found on the hands and feet. These patches do not hurt or itch, but generally take a long time to heal.
Increased appetite — Dips in blood sugar levels result in the brain thinking that the body is hungry, even if the individual has recently eaten. Both thirst and increased appetites are early signs of diabetes, but having an increased appetite doesn’t always mean that a person is diabetic.
Tingles and numbness — Individuals may feel tingling, such as needle pricks and numbness in their feet because of how the disease affects their nerves.
Problems during intercourse — Signs of diabetes in women include reduced vaginal lubrication and increased sensitivity during intercourse. In men, signs include erectile dysfunction due to damaged nerves.
Sores that take a long time to heal — These sores are the result of damaged nerves from the excess glucose in the blood stream. Diabetics must dress these sores well in order to prevent infections, which can complicate their management of the condition.
Itchy skin — Damaged nerve endings increase sensitivity, so diabetic individuals may find that their skin itches often. Poor circulation and dry skin typically cause diabetics to feel itching in their lower legs and toes.
Dry mouth — Diabetics may find that they consistently have a dryer mouth than normal. For many people with the condition, this can also impact the way their breath smells.
Complications Associated with Diabetes
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are millions of Americans living well with diabetes, and they are able to do that by effectively monitoring their insulin and blood sugar levels. Individuals with diabetes who fail to monitor their health are at risk of developing other medical complications including:
- Kidney damage
- High blood pressure
- Nerve damage
Many of these complications happen after someone has willfully ignored the necessary actions they should take to manage their diabetes. However, individuals with severe cases of the disease may be confronted with any of the aforementioned complications.
Gestational Diabetes in Women
Developing diabetes as a woman can be more severe than for a man. For women, developing diabetes increases their chances of having a heart attack, which very few survive.
Gestational diabetes is a special case of diabetes that only affects some women during pregnancy. While pregnant, a woman’s placenta creates many hormones to help sustain the baby. These hormones tend to block the production of insulin, which leads to women developing gestational diabetes. Most women develop this disease later in their pregnancy and it generally goes away after the baby is born and hormone levels return to normal.
As stated by Mayo Clinic, there are no noticeable signs or symptoms of gestational diabetes. Women who suspect they may have an increased chance of developing the condition, or who have a family history of it, or who simply want to know if they have it should consult a medical professional. It is also advised to talk to a medical professional prior to trying to have a baby.
Complications Associated with Gestational Diabetes
Much like other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes can be managed by monitoring insulin levels and food intake, and by exercising regularly. Of course, pregnant women should not do any robust or extreme exercises, but by working with a licensed medical professional, they can reduce the risks of the condition’s complications, which include:
Developing type 2 diabetes — Some women continue to have the disease after giving birth. Heredity and food intake are risk factors that impact whether a woman will continue to have the disease after the birth of her child.
Hypoglycemia — High levels of insulin within the baby’s system can cause them to have low blood sugar levels. This condition can result in seizures, which threaten the child’s life.
Large babies — Excessive amounts of insulin can cause women to have a baby that weighs over nine pounds. Unfortunately, large babies tend to get stuck in the birth canal during delivery, which can lead to a lot of complications, even risking the life of the mother and child.
Respiratory distress for the baby — High levels of insulin increase the chances of children being born before their lungs fully develop. When this happens, the baby may need assistance breathing until their lungs are fully developed.
Diabetes is a serious condition which plagues millions of people. The best way to reduce complications that could impact a person’s quality of life is through education and discipline. People with diabetes must be well informed on what foods they should avoid and how the disease affects various areas of their daily life. By knowing this information, they place less strain on their bodies and they are able to increase their chances of living a life that isn’t centered on the fact that they are diabetic.