What are the types of diabetes?
Diabetes refers to a collection of diseases in which the human body has some sort of issue with insulin. In some instances of diabetes, the body doesn’t make enough of the crucial hormone whereas, in other situations, the body can’t appropriately use whatever insulin is created. In other cases, a combination of both occurs. Each of these situations inhibits the body from drawing sugar out of the bloodstream and distributing it to the cells. This results in high blood sugar levels that require medical attention and management.
We draw a majority of our energy from glucose, which is found in the bloodstream. Insulin helps manage this and, when unavailable, sugar continues to build up in the bloodstream, creating a wide variety of health problems and issues.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is generally considered to be an autoimmune disorder that many people are born with. Instead of working with the body, the immune system routinely attacks certain pancreatic cells that produce insulin. There is no reversal of type 1 diabetes and medical researchers are still unsure as to what prompts the damaging immune system response. Genetic and environmental factors can cause type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes relates to the body’s inability to use the insulin that it naturally produces. Because your body isn’t utilizing the insulin that it’s creating, the pancreas starts to create even more insulin. When it fails to keep up with the demand, insulin production drops off and leads to high blood pressure levels. The cause of this type of insulin resistance is still unknown but certain lifestyle factors can put people in a higher risk category. Type 2 diabetes risk factors may include:
- Genetic predispositions
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Being overweight or obese
- Poor diet
Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when blood sugar levels increase to high levels. Typically, this type of diabetes can develop between the 24 and 28-week mark and may go away once the baby is born. For some women, developing gestational diabetes may leave them more at risk for type 2 diabetes down the line. Risk factors for gestational diabetes may stem from a lack of physical activity, obesity, genetics, and more.
In all instances, a diabetes diagnosis is scary but the medical community continues to make strides in treating and managing this insulin-related disease and its corresponding symptoms.
What are early signs of diabetes?
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can generate different physical symptoms. However, those afflicted with either type may experience these common occurrences:
- Frequent urination. High blood pressure triggers the kidneys to kick into overdrive as they try to remove the excess sugar from the bloodstream. This leads individuals to suffer from frequent urination. In particular, the urge to go may be more prevalent at night.
- Unquenchable thirst. This goes hand in hand with frequently urinating. As the kidneys remove excess water, a person may grow increasingly dehydrated, causing them to consume more water and feel thirsty.
- Insatiable. The lack of insulin, or the inability to use the insulin that is created, hinders the body’s ability to draw nutrients out of food. Because of this lack of nutrients, individuals may feel the need to eat constantly in order to stay awake and alert.
- Extreme fatigue. Also in direct relation to gaining nutrients from food, one with undiagnosed diabetes may feel extremely tired constantly. Even after a good night’s sleep, if the body cannot pull energy out of food, it simply cannot work efficiently.
- Blurred vision. Those with lifelong diabetes often suffer from blindness later on in life. However, in the early stages of undiagnosed diabetes, excess sugar in the bloodstream may damage sensitive vessels in the eyes, causing blurred vision.
- Numbness in extremities. Also known as neuropathy, tingling sensations in the hands and feet can be early warning signs for diabetes. Pain may follow and grow increasingly worse if diabetes is left untreated.
- Darkening skin. Soft, velvety patches that form in the groin, armpits, or neck can be a sign of diabetes. These spots may grow dark in appearance and not let up.
- Yeast infections. Excess sugar can prompt yeasts to flourish. These infections may crop up in moist areas of the body like mouth, throat, genitals, and armpits.
- Weight loss. Caused by the body’s inability to gain sufficient nutrients from the food it consumes, weight loss is another symptom of type 1 or 2 diabetes. The weight loss may be sudden or come on slowly.
Be on the lookout for any of these symptoms of type 1 or 2 diabetes and don’t hesitate to consult with a healthcare professional. When left unattended, certain symptoms of diabetes can cause lifelong issues, even when type 1 or type 2 diabetes gets under control.
Most Common Symptoms of Undiagnosed Diabetes
While there are a host of symptoms of type 1 and 2 diabetes that could suggest the undiagnosed disease, there are a few key symptoms to look out for. The most common ones are:
Excessive thirst is one of the most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes. For many, being thirsty throughout the day is common as our bodies require ample amounts of water to run efficiently. Many people are generally dehydrated as it takes an average of 2.5 – 3.5 liters of water, per day, to stay fully hydrated.
However, when one is extremely thirsty even after consuming a fair amount of water each day, this could be a sign of underlying diabetes. A dry mouth, irritated eyes, and unslakable thirst are caused by the kidney’s excess use of water to filter out exorbitant blood sugar.
Being tired at the end of the day is a good thing. It’s our body’s way of alerting us to a job well done, a day fully lived. However, if after a good night’s sleep and adequate nutrition you are still constantly tired, this could be your body’s way of telling you that something is up. Extreme fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes. If you are barely able to keep your eyes open and your head up despite gaining a solid night’s sleep, drinking plenty of water, and eating the right nutrients, consult with your doctor.
Frequent urination can signal underlying diabetes. For those that consume large amounts of water, the need to go can be frequent, as much as once an hour for heavy water drinkers. However, if you are constantly needing to go, even at night when not consuming water, this could be a warning of underlying issues.
If you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms of diabetes, it’s crucial to call your primary care doctor immediately. Our bodies operate according to careful checks and balances conducted by internal organs. When one thing is out of whack, like a lack of insulin production, it can throw off this intricate web of complex systems. If left untreated, diabetes can cause serious, even life-threatening issues.
Why should you choose UCF to help with your diabetes needs?
UCF Health Services are expansive and include the treatment of endocrine disorders. Regardless of the type of diabetes you may be experiencing, our expert doctors can help get you back to optimal health. While there is currently no cure for diabetes, Orlando Endocrinology Services have vast experience in caring for patients with diabetes or other endocrine disorders.
Endocrinology experts at UCF Health spend years studying the body’s delicate endocrine system. They have seen a variety of patients from all walks of life and work with a team of other knowledgeable medical professionals to ensure each patient receives robust, correct health care. Disorders of the pituitary gland are no joke and can severely affect one’s quality of life.
To discuss insurance coverage or make an appointment, visit our patient portal today. We make it easy to get our patients the health care access they need.