7 ways to tell if you have diabetes
As it’s National Diabetes week we’ve joined up with Diabetes UK to list the more common symptoms of the condition so you can decide if you, or someone you know, needs to seek medical help.
Diabetes is a condition where the amount of glucose in your blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. Normally the body produces insulin to allow the glucose to be used by your body, but with diabetes the body is either producing too much or too little insulin, which causes an imbalance in the levels of glucose. There are currently 3.2 million people diagnosed with the condition in the UK and an estimated 630,000 people who have it but are unaware. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to serious health problems.
Symptoms of diabetes occur because some or all of the glucose processed from food and drink that is used as fuel for energy stays in the blood. The body tries to reduce blood glucose levels by flushing the excess glucose out of the body in the urine.
So look out for the following in undiagnosed diabetes:
- passing urine more often than usual, especially at night
- increased thirst
- extreme tiredness
- unexplained weight loss
- genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
- slow healing of cuts and wounds
- blurred vision
If you have any of the above symptoms contact your GP. Early diagnosis, treatment and good control of diabetes is vital to reduce the chances of developing serious diabetes complications.
What’s the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes?
In Type 1 diabetes the signs and symptoms are usually very obvious and develop very quickly, typically over a few weeks. They are not associated with excess body weight and needs to be treated with insulin injections or an insulin pump. It cannot be controlled without insulin. However symptoms are quickly relieved once the diabetes is treated and under control.
In Type 2 diabetes the signs and symptoms may not be so obvious, as the condition develops slowly over a period of years and may only be picked up in a routine medical check-up. It usually affects those 30+ and is often associated with excess body weight, high blood pressure and/or cholesterol levels. It can be treated without medication or tablets. Symptoms are quickly relieved once diabetes is treated and under control. Early diagnosis is very beneficial so check your Risk Score here.
What happens if you ignore symptoms?
Leaving Type 1 diabetes untreated can lead to serious health problems, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which can result in a potentially fatal coma.
Type 2 diabetes can be easier to miss, especially in the early stages when the underlying symptoms may not be apparent. But diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Being diagnosed early and controlling your blood glucose levels can help prevent these complications