Early signs of diabetes: Symptoms to look out for and when to seek help

There are around four million people in the UK who have diabetes and around one person is diagnosed with the disease every two minutes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects how your body converts food into energy. When food is broken down, most of it is converted into sugar or glucose and then released into your bloodstream.

When blood glucose levels rise, it signals your pancreas to release insulin to restore balance.

However, these levels cannot be managed naturally by diabetics.

Over seven per cent of the UK population are living with the disease, while a million have type 2 diabetes and are unaware.

One of the lesser-known symptoms of the disease is a slower healing process for cuts, abrasions or even blisters.

Early Signs of Diabetes

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes have similar early warning signs that you can recognize and address.

  • hunger and fatigue Diabetics do not produce enough or any insulin, which the body needs to process food properly. This can lead to increased hunger and fatigue.
  • Urinate more often and feel more thirsty – Diabetes raises your blood sugar and when this happens your kidneys work harder to flush it out of your body. This forces you to urinate more. When diabetes develops, many wet the bed for the first time since childhood. Producing more urine can dehydrate your body and make you thirsty.
  • Blurred vision – Very high and low blood sugar levels can affect your vision because the lenses in your eyes swell.

If you develop any of these early signs, you should do so contact your doctor.

What is type 1 diabetes?

When you have type 1 diabetes, your pancreas produces little or no insulin.

There is no cure for type 1 diabetes as it can be genetic, but insulin shots can be taken daily to control blood sugar levels.

No lifestyle change will reduce your risk of developing this type, and it’s not linked to obesity.

Type 1 diabetes is life-threatening if left untreated, but it can be controlled with simple treatment.

the NHS describes symptoms of type 1 diabetes as:

  • very thirsty
  • Peeing more than usual, especially at night
  • feeling very tired
  • Lose weight without trying
  • Thrush that keeps coming back
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts and abrasions that don’t heal
  • Fruity smelling breath

Symptoms can develop within a few months or even weeks.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Often associated with obesity, inactivity, poor diet, or a family history of type 2 diabetes, it generally develops more slowly than type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 is more common than type 1 and occurs when your pancreas can’t keep up with your body’s blood sugar levels, often as a result of a persistently poor diet.

This is different from type 1 because in this condition the immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas.

Type 2 diabetes is often caused by lifestyle factors, but it can also be caused by family history that makes it more likely that you will develop it.

It can be prevented and even bring into remission through a healthy lifestyle and diet.

The NHS lists common symptoms Type 2 diabetes as :

  • Peeing more than usual, especially at night
  • Constant feeling of thirst
  • feeling very tired
  • Lose weight without trying
  • itching around your penis or vagina or repeated occurrences of thrush
  • Cuts or wounds that take longer to heal
  • Blurred vision

You should contact your doctor if you have any symptoms of type 1 or 2 diabetes.


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