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4 Common Symptoms of Diabetes

Aug 27, 2008
Diabetes is a condition which develops when your body's insulin (a hormone that helps convert blood sugar/glucose into energy) production becomes inhibited. This has a knock effect on your blood sugar levels which increase due to this lack of insulin. However, the associated symptoms are often difficult to identify. A lot of the time the symptoms are so mild that they are not noticed and in other cases the symptoms take years to develop. In this article I will be discussing four of the top diabetes symptoms that you should look out for.

1) HYPERGLYCAEMIA:- Hyperglycaemia refers to higher than normal blood sugar levels which in most cases are brought about by the lack of insulin in a diabetic person's body. Insulin usually works as a control mechanism and keeps blood sugar within a normal range (around 80 milligrams per decilitre to 110 mg/dL). Without insulin blood sugar levels can consistently become higher than normal and in diabetics persistent hyperglycaemia is common. Blood sugar levels are said to be hyperglycaemic if they are consistently above 126 mg/dL. With persistent hyperglycaemia comes a number of symptoms which include:

- Blurred Vision.
- Constant Thirst.
- Hunger Pangs.
- Frequent Urges to Urinate.
- Persistent Weakness/Tiredness.

Hyperglycaemia does require your attention. Insulin injections can be used for mild occurrences but more severe occurrences may require medical treatment.

2) HYPOGLYCAEMIA:- Hypoglycaemia refers to lower than normal blood sugar levels. It can be brought about by not eating enough calories on a day to day basis, not consuming enough calories post exercise and excessive alcohol consumption. Although hypoglycaemia can affect all diabetics it is most common in type 1 diabetics when they inject too much insulin. The symptoms of hypoglycaemia include:

- Blurred Vision.
- Dizziness.
- Hunger Pangs.
- Shaking.
- Sweating.

Like hyperglycaemia, hypoglycaemia will require your attention. Mild occurrences can usually be overcome by eating 10g - 20g of sugar or consuming glucose tablets. However, more serious hypoglycaemia will require glucagon to be injected via paramedics.

3) DIABETIC KETOACIDOSIS (DKA):- When your body fails to convert blood sugar into energy it starts to use fat and muscle for energy instead. The breakdown of fat causes ketones (fatty acids) to be released into the bloodstream and over time these build up and lead to the onset of DKA. DKA is most prevalent in type 1 diabetics and is usually brought about by a lack of insulin which prevents your body from getting adequate energy from the available blood sugar. However, it can also be linked with illness and infection. The symptoms of DKA include:

- Abdominal Pain.
- Fruity Smelling Breath.
- Dry Skin.
- Vomiting.

DKA is one of the more serious symptoms of diabetes and will require immediate medical attention. In the worst cases it can be fatal.

4) HYPEROSMOTIC NON-KETOTIC ACIDOSIS (HONK):- HONK is most prevalent in type 2 diabetics. It occurs when the body responds to the high levels of blood sugar by passing additional urine. This can then lead to extreme dehydration and HONK for which the symptoms include:

- Dry Skin.
- Excessive Thirst (which does not disappear following fluid consumption).
- Fevers.

Like with DKA, HONK is very serious condition and requires proper medical attention right away.

I hope this article helps you identify the often elusive symptoms of diabetes. The symptoms can range from the mild (which are normally self treatable) to the serious (which usually require professional medical assistance). However, remember that the symptoms are only an indicator of diabetes. For the best results you should go and book yourself in for an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible and get yourself tested for diabetes.

Every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative but it is intended for general information only. Diabetes is a medical condition and this article is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner. If you have any concerns regarding any form of diabetes you should seek the advice of your doctor immediately.
About the Author
Tom Parker owns and operates a number of useful fitness resources and websites. For more detailed information on the symptoms of diabetes and how it can be properly managed with a healthy lifestyle please visit Tom's Fitness Tips blog
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