If you, or anyone you know, suspects they might have diabetes, the first thing you should do is go and get a blood test at a doctor, pharmacy or clinic. The simple pin-prick finger test is painless and quick, and can tell you immediately if your blood sugar is in the normal range.
Should you be concerned? Well, here are the most common symptoms of diabetes. Bear in mind that there are two types of diabetes – Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes (also sometimes called Diabetes 2 or sugar diabetes). The symptoms for both are similar, but specific to the type. If you are experiencing any of these, it’s worth getting checked out:
Type 1 diabetes symptoms:
* Excessive thirst, even after drinking something
* Constant hunger
* Needing to pee a lot more than usual, particularly in the night
* Rapid weight loss
* Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
* Mood swings and irritability
* Blurry vision
Type 2 diabetes symptoms:
* Excessive thirst (or needing to drink more than usual)
* Dry mouth
* Needing to pee more than usual, particularly in the night
* Increased hunger
* Leg pain
* Blurry vision
* Itchy skin
* Yeast infections
* Cuts or sores that are slow to heal, particularly on the feet
The symptoms of Type 1 diabetes are often very sudden and dramatic, making the person so ill that it is quickly diagnosed as Type 1 diabetes. This is because people with Type 1 need to inject insulin as their pancreas no longer produces any insulin.
With Type 2 diabetes (or sugar diabetes, as it is often called in South Africa), the symptoms are often not as obvious – which makes them just as dangerous, as the longer diabetes goes undetected, the worse the long-term complications can be. If a person has Type 2 diabetes, it means that their pancreas still produces some insulin, but the body has insulin resistance and is not absorbing it as well as it should. This is how the condition can slowly get worse.
If you are experiencing any of these diabetes symptoms, go and get your blood sugar checked! It is totally possible to live a happy, healthy life with diabetes – but only if you know where you stand. Although at first it might seem quite overwhelming, having a community to share information with makes all the difference. Living well with diabetes is easy when you’re not doing it alone.