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Diabetes Symptoms

Diabetes symptomsWhen describing the diabetes symptoms, it is necessary to distinguish the primary and the secondary symptoms.

Primary Diabetes Symptoms

Primary symptoms include:

  • Polyuria – frequent urination, both at day and night. It is triggered by the increased osmotic pressure, which is caused by glucose in urine. Normally, urine contains no glucose.
  • Polydipsia – increased thirst. It is caused by increased water loss with frequent urination and elevation of the blood osmotic pressure.
  • Polyphagia – increased hunger. It is caused by the general metabolic disorder, which is characteristic of all types of diabetes mellitus. Namely, the body cells cannot absorb and convert glucose, which leads to the constant feeling of hunger despite the normal or increased amounts of meals.
  • Weight loss – diabetes symptom that is especially characteristic of people with type 1 diabetes mellitus. This symptom occurs despite the increased appetite of diabetic patients. As the glucose is excluded from the energy metabolism in the body cells, the catabolism of proteins and lipids increases. This leads to constant weight loss and even cachexy.

These four major symptoms most often are the signs of type 1 diabetes mellitus. Their development is usually very rapid and is immediately noticed and remembered by the patient.

Secondary Diabetes Symptoms

The group of minor diabetes symptoms includes those signs of the disease that develop slowly with time. They are characteristic of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

Secondary symptoms include:

  • Skin and mucosa (e.g. vagina) rashes
  • Inflammatory skin diseases poorly responding to treatment
  • Dryness of the mouth
  • Headaches
  • General muscular weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Smell of acetone in urine (in type 1 diabetes patients) caused by diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a serious diabetes complication.
  • Hyperosmolar nonketonic state (more common in type 2 diabetes patients) – serious diabetes complication, which is the result of body dehydration, as the patients drinks more and more sugar containing drinks, which do not help with water loss and only lead to higher blood glucose levels and increases thirst. Most often, this state ends up with coma.

Diabetes Diagnosis

Noticing any of the diabetes symptoms is enough to address a doctor. Diabetes mellitus is diagnosed based on the result of specific blood tests that speaks of persistent hyperglycaemia, which is the increased level of blood sugar. According to the World Health Organization, the following test results demonstrate hyperglycaemia:

  • Fasting plasma glucose level ≥ 126 mg/dL (7.0 mmol/L)
  • Plasma glucose level (2-hour glucose tolerance test) ≥ 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L)
  • Glycated hemoglobin (Hb A1C) level ≥ 6.5%
  • Casual plasma glucose level ≥ 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) together with hyperglycaemia symptoms

If hyperglycaemia is not equivocal, and the result of any of these tests is positive for diabetes, one more test is made on a different day to confirm the diabetes mellitus diagnose. The most preferable test is the fasting glucose test, as it is comparatively easy, quick, and gives an equally exact result in comparison with the two-hour glucose tolerance test.

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