Early symptoms of diabetes and what to do next

Diabetes is a disease that affects how your body uses blood sugar, otherwise known as glucose. The Mayo Clinic explains that glucose is essential to your body's health because it's a big source of energy for your cells, but the problem if you have diabetes is that your body produces too much glucose, and this can lead to serious health problems.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) explains that there are three types of diabetes: type 1, when the body doesn't produce insulin; type 2, when the body does not use insulin properly; and gestational diabetes, which develops during pregnancy. Each form of diabetes is brought on in a different way, so it's important to understand the differences as well as risk factors.
Advertisement
Type 1 
Type 1 diabetes, which up until recently was known as juvenile diabetes, usually develops in children and young adults and is very rare. According to the ADA, only 5 percent of people with diabetes have this form of the disease.
A diagnosis of type 1 diabetes means your pancreas does not produce insulin on its own. The hormone insulin is extremely important because it moves the glucose from your bloodstream into your body's cells. The Mayo Clinic explains that when glucose isn't able to move into the cells, it builds up in your blood, causing high blood sugar, and starves your cells of the nutrients they need.
In type 1, symptoms often appear quickly and severely. The ADA says the symptoms to be aware of are:
- Frequent urination
- Strong thirst 
- Hunger, even though you are eating 
- Extreme fatigue 
- Blurred vision 
- Cuts and bruises that heal more slowly
- Weight loss, despite eating more
-Frequent infections of the mouth, skin, or vagina 
The Mayo Clinic explains that the cause of type 1 is largely unknown, but researchers do know that it has to do with the immune system. Your immune system, which normally fights harmful viruses and bacteria, instead attacks and kills the insulin producing cells inside the pancreas. Doctors and researchers believe type 1 is caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors, but the factors aren't clear.
The Mayo Clinic says type 1 diabetes is manageable, and those diagnosed can go on to live healthy lives with the help of insulin therapy and other treatments. The key to keeping up this good health is to keep blood sugar levels in a safe range, under the supervision of a doctor. 
If diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, you'll have to take multiple insulin injections throughout the day, and you'll also have to monitor your blood glucose levels. A doctor will explain what range your levels should be in. It's also very important to exercise and eat well. Diabetes directly affects your blood sugar levels, and certain foods can have a big effect on your blood sugar levels, so the ADA provides food guidelines to follow.
Type 2 
Type 2 diabetes disables the body from using insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance. The ADA explains that at first, the pancreas tries to make extra insulin to make up for the problem, but over time it can't keep up, causing blood sugar levels to rise. Because insulin is important for moving the glucose from the bloodstream into your body's cells for energy, without it, the sugars build up in your blood, causing serious health issues.
Similar to type 1, doctors aren't totally sure why type 2 diabetes forms, but being overweight is strongly linked to its development. Type 2 diabetes can form in anyone at any age, although the Mayo Clinic says it's more common in people over 40. It's also important to note that you don't have to be overweight to develop type 2 diabetes.
The symptoms for type 2 diabetes are mostly the same as symptoms for type 1, but the Mayo Clinic notes that sometimes the symptoms take longer to show up and sometimes go unnoticed for long periods. That's why it's important to understand these symptoms:
- Frequent urination
- Strong thirst
- Hunger, even though you are eating
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurred vision
- Cuts and bruises that heal more slowly
- Tingling, pain or numbness in your hands and feet
-Frequent infections of the mouth, skin, or vagina 
Also keep in mind these risk factors:
- Weight 
- Inactivity
- Family history of diabetes
- Race: It plays a factor, although how and why is unclear. People of certain races, including Blacks, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian-Americans, are at higher risk.
- Age: Your risk increases with age, most especially with type 2.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome: In women, this is linked with irregular periods, obesity and excessive hair growth.
- High blood pressure, for example, anything over 140/90 mmHG
- Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels
With type 2 diabetes, you must watch and manage your insulin and blood sugar levels. A doctor will explain what range your levels should be in and talk with you about other treatments, like possible weight loss and diet changes. As with type 1, it's very important to exercise and eat well. 
Gestational
Gestational diabetes forms during pregnancy, and as the ADA explains, it usually happens around the 24th week. It's a fairly common pregnancy complication. WebMD notes you may have a greater risk for developing gestational diabetes if you:
- Are obese when you become pregnant
- Have high blood pressure or other medical complications
- Have given birth to a large (greater than 9 pounds) baby before
- Have given birth to a baby that was stillborn or suffering from certain birth defects
- Have had gestational diabetes in previous pregnancies
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Come from certain ethnic backgrounds, including African, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or Pacific Islander
- Are older than 30
But it's also important to note that half of women who develop gestational diabetes have no risk factors, according to WebMD.
Just like all the other forms of diabetes, gestational diabetes has to do with increased blood sugar levels due to a drop in insulin. But while many women after delivery see their blood sugar levels return to normal, having gestational diabetes increases mom's risk of developing diabetes later in life by 50 percent, according to WebMD. It could also affect the baby; WebMD notes that there's an increased risk for the child to develop type 2 diabetes later in life and even be overweight. Type 1 is not linked to gestational diabetes, though, and the risk of birth defects is very low since gestational diabetes usually develops after the fetus has fully formed.
Advertisement
Treating gestational diabetes is similar to treating the other types. Treatment consists of one or a combination of insulin injections, blood sugar testing, special meal plans and physical activity. Each patient is different, and a doctor will determine what treatments are necessary.
Resources Mayo Clinic and WebMD
Share on Facebook

Magnesium is responsible for many functions within the body, but only a fraction of the population is meeting the recommended daily intake amount.
November 23   ·  
Advertisement
Experiencing joint pain? Here's what you need to know about arthritis.
November 22   ·  
While there is still much to learn about lupus, researchers have made many strides in understanding the disorder.
November 21   ·  
 
Recommended
Advertisement