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Diabetes has earned the reputation of being one of the most common medical issues faced by a large number of people across the world. It is also known as diabetes mellitus, and is actually a group of diseases that inhibit the working of blood glucose in the body. There are mainly four types of diabetes; type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. Among these, the first two are known to be the chronic ones, and no cure has been established for them. On the other hand, prediabetes, and gestational diabetes are potentially reversible conditions. This article would speak primarily of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

What is Diabetes?

When food is consumed, the nutrients are broken down in the digestion process. And glucose is one of these nutrients, which gets directly absorbed by the bloodstream. Then, the pancreas are signaled to secrete the hormone known as insulin. And as this hormone circulates, it moves the glucose from the blood into the cells, where it is further broken down to provide energy to the body. But what happens in diabetes is, the insulin is either not manufactured by the body (in type 1 diabetes) or, whatever insulin is manufactured, is not sufficient because the cells become resistant to it (type 2 diabetes). So this causes the sugar to build up in the bloodstream. And when the sugar level becomes dangerously high, it may give rise to various complications, sometimes life-threatening ones.

What Indicates Diabetes?

The warning signs of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are almost similar, except that the type 2 has a couple of more symptoms. But one major difference between the two is, the symptoms caused by the former condition surface quickly than those that occur in the latter. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in women, most of which are the same in men too are as follows:
  • The first symptom that indicates the onset of diabetes is being frequently thirsty. The person may feel very thirsty, as if he/she has not drank water the whole day. The reason for this is the increased sugar in the blood that leaves the body tissues dry, thus making the body dehydrated.
  • Another classic symptom of diabetes is increased urge to urinate. Now this occurs as the person drinks more water than usual, to quench his increased thirst. It also happens due to the body's reaction to get rid of the excess unused blood sugar through urination.
  • With time, the patient keeps feeling more hunger pangs as the disease progresses. As cited above, normally, the sugar molecules are moved into the cells to provide the body with the energy for its daily functioning. However, with diabetes, this process essentially does not take place, thus leaving the muscles and tissues low on energy. To this, the body responds by increasing hunger. In some cases, the person may still feel hungry even after eating. But irrespective of the amount of the food eaten, the glucose never reaches the cells.
  • Weight loss is also an important indication of the condition. Even if the person's appetite has increased and he/she is eating more than usual, it is most likely that he/she may experience weight loss. This is simply because, with no glucose reaching the cells, the fat stores of the body have nothing to do but shrink. This also causes loss of muscle bulk, which further adds to the weight loss.
  • Another obvious repercussion of the blood glucose not being moved into the cells, is fatigue. The patient may become easily tired and irritable.
  • As noted in the opening of this section, excess sugar in the blood sucks out fluid from the body including the eyes. So when the eyes become dry, it may be difficult for the person to focus clearly, further experiencing blurred vision.
  • Diabetes can also trigger increased chances of vaginal infections in women
In type 2 diabetes, apart from these symptoms, other symptoms may include slow healing of infections, frequent infections, and development of dark patches usually in the armpits and neck regions.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are the irreversible forms of diabetes mellitus. However, recognizing their early symptoms helps in initiating an early treatment. This in turn would not only help in managing the condition, but may also reduce the risks of life-threatening complications.