Diabetes Mellitus is a condition wherein the body has increased blood glucose levels. There are two types of diabetes mellitus. The type 1 diabetes mellitus starts during childhood, making it synonymous to juvenile diabetes. In this type of diabetes, there is an impairment in the production of insulin by the pancreas resulting in increased blood glucose levels in the body. This is often treated with insulin shots and a proper diet plan. There are times that the patient may outgrow this diabetes, and there are some whose diabetes persists into adulthood. The second type of diabetes is the type 2 diabetes or adult onset diabetes. This type of diabetes is an acquired condition, usually affecting adults with several risk factors like smoking, obesity, improper eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle. Gestational diabetes may be considered of this type. In this condition, there may be a sufficient amount of insulin circulating in the body but the cells are impaired from receiving glucose for its utilization.
There are times that you show no symptom of this condition and yet later find out that they have it. This is not unusual since like Type 2 diabetes, it develops slowly through the years of too much stress on the body. People have been diagnosed with diabetes almost ten years after they get it. The symptoms vary for each individual, but the two common signs that are very indicative of diabetes are increased urination or polyuria and frequent thirst or polydipsia. This is commonly seen in diabetic patients because the increased glucose in the body causes water to be removed from the cells to be able to reach homeostasis or a balance in electrolytes in the body. When the cells get dehydrated because of the outward flow of water, it triggers the brain to feel thirsty. And it leads to the frequency in the urge to drink. Drinking water and other beverages will in effect increase urination. And this cycle goes on until the increased glucose levels in the blood go down.
Another major symptom to complete the three P symptoms of diabetes mellitus is polyphagia or extreme hunger. Since the body is trying to balance its electrolytes and other fluids in the body, it triggers your hunger centers to make you feel that you want to eat. Unfortunately, the more you eat, especially carbohydrates, the more you encourage this condition to progress. And the feeling of hunger will not go away.
Having Diabetes mellitus can also feel like you are coming down with the flu. You tend to feel very weak with a feeling of malaise. Sometimes, you may feel a bit feverish and lose your appetite. This is because your body is not absorbing enough glucose in its cells. Since glucose is the basic ingredient for energy production inside the cell, an impaired glucose transport in the cell will result in low energy levels, thus the feeling of fatigue and weakness.
People suffering from Diabetes mellitus have the symptom of eating more to fill up the loss of fluids and sugar in the cells and thus gain more body mass. On the other hand, since the body cannot utilize the glucose in the cells, these glucose get flushed out of the body in the urine. Since it is not utilized, and no nutrients reach other cells for growth and energy, you lose weight. This is frequently seen in patients suffering from juvenile diabetes. They are always at their normal weight or most of the time, lower than it.
Diabetic patients also suffer from vision symptoms especially a blurred vision. The high blood glucose levels tend to make water move outward from the cells. Since the lenses of the eyes are also cells, water also tends to migrate outward, affecting the shape of the cell, and consequently, your vision. Once the blood glucose levels are regulated, vision can go back to normal. But once the blood glucose levels remain elevated for a long period of time, they make new optic capillaries to form at the back of the eye or the retina as it also damages old blood vessels. This may cause several vision problems on the patient, some as serious as having no cure and this leads to blindness.
Diabetic patients are also known for having wounds that take a very long time to heal. This is because the high blood glucose levels impair the ability of the cell to repair, leaving the wound open to infections and other complications. Once this symptom occurs, and the body still is not responding properly to the infection, gangrene might set in. This is a reason why diabetic patients have to be very careful to not have any wounds in the body. And if they get one, to take care of it until it heals. Women can also develop long term bladder and vaginal infections as symptoms, which can be a problem in treatment.
Elevated blood sugar for a long period of time can cause neurological symptoms to occur in patients with diabetes mellitus. This elevation damages the small nerves found in the peripheral nervous system, usually found in the skin. Symptoms include a tingling and no sensation in the extremities especially the feet area. Burning pain is also a symptom experienced in the legs and feet, arms and legs. The nerves that control autonomic functions may also be impaired affecting middle aged men to have some degree of erectile dysfunction. Diabetic neuropathies are commonly seen in patients who have a hard time controlling their blood sugar.
Another symptom of diabetes may be its effect on the gums, especially when an infection takes place, causing the gums to become red and swollen and the teeth loose. The gums may recede and expose the teeth, or formations of pus and sores may occur.
Diabetes mellitus often gets undiagnosed because of its common symptoms and signs that may sometimes mistake it for flu and other infections. As with any disease, early detection and diagnosis can lower down the risk of any complications.