Spotting diabetes in its early stages Spotting diabetes in its early stages

Over 4 million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes and this number is on the rise. While diabetes is serious, it can be easily treated with medications and lifestyle changes. Catching it and treating it as soon as possible is crucial to successfully managing the disease. Uncontrolled diabetes can eventually lead to complications like heart disease, permanent nerve damage, vision loss, and kidney failure.

If you’re worried you may be suffering from diabetes or are at risk of developing it, read on to learn about the early signs and symptoms of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Early Signs of Diabetes

Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes have many of the same early warning signs. If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your GP so you can be checked for diabetes. Getting ahead of it will improve your ability to treat diabetes and to prevent potential complications.

  1. Increased Hunger and Tiredness: Glucose helps your body turn the food you eat into the energy your cells need. Without enough insulin, your cells can’t take in that glucose. This results in your cells getting less energy than they should, leaving you feeling tired and more hungry than usual.
  2. Frequent Urination: On average, a person with no underlying conditions urinates between 4-7 times each day. People with diabetes tend to urinate far more frequently because of how their kidneys interact with glucose. Your body usually absorbs glucose when it passes through the kidneys, but if there is a higher blood sugar level because of diabetes, your kidneys can’t absorb it all. This results in your body making more urine.
  3. Increased Thirst: Because you’re making more urine than normal, you’ll need more fluids. This can cause you to be more thirsty than usual. Drinking more liquids means more peeing, so you might find yourself in a vicious cycle.
  4. Dehydration: Urinating frequently leaves your body without the fluids it needs for other functions. As a result, you may have frequent dry mouth and dry, itchy skin. Dehydration also causes headaches, dizziness, and changes in bowel habits.
  5. Blurry Vision: The lenses in your eyes may swell due to the fluctuating fluid levels in your body, causing blurry vision. High levels of blood sugar can further impact vision by damaging the blood vessels in the eyes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, lifelong condition that occurs when your blood sugar levels are too high because your body doesn’t make enough insulin. Insulin is vital to how your body absorbs and processes glucose in the blood. Without insulin, glucose builds up in your bloodstream and causes your blood sugar levels to rise.

Around 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1. It usually develops in children and in teens which is why it used to be called juvenile diabetes, but it can develop at any age. There is no cure, and it can’t be prevented, but with proper treatment and lifestyle changes it can be managed effectively.

It’s thought that type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction that attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. It may also be caused by genetic factors like a family history of diabetes or can develop after a virus or environmental trigger.

It can sometimes take months or years for the symptoms of type 1 diabetes to become noticeable, although in children they usually come on quickly. Once they do become noticeable, they’re often severe. However, because the symptoms can sometimes be attributed to other conditions, people may not realise they’re suffering from type 1 diabetes.

Uncontrolled and untreated diabetes can soon become serious and even fatal so it’s important to get diagnosed through blood work as soon as possible so you can start treatment.

Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms:

  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Fruity smelling breath
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Blurry vision
  • Slow healing cuts and wounds

Type 2 Diabetes

The most common type of diabetes is Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes prevents the pancreas from producing enough insulin and affects how the cells respond to the insulin that is made. This causes blood sugar levels to rise.

Type 2 diabetes used to be referred to as adult-onset diabetes because it usually developed in later adulthood, but it is increasingly being diagnosed in younger adults and even children. Like type 1 diabetes, there is no cure, but blood sugar levels can usually be kept within safe ranges through diet and exercise. Medications can also be taken to control blood sugar levels.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes developer more slowly than type 1 diabetes and are less severe. Many people are currently living with type 2 diabetes without realising it. If symptoms appear, they can be similar to the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

Other Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms:

  • Frequent infections
  • Darkened or thickened patches of skin
  • Oral and vaginal thrush
  • Tinging or numbness in the hands and feet

The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is obesity and poor diet. Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Physical inactivity
  • Being over the age of 35
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Medication for Diabetes

The different types of diabetes will require different treatment. Type 1 diabetics will need to take insulin to treat their condition, either through an injection or through an insulin pump. Type 2 diabetics who can’t lower their blood sugar with diet and exercise will usually first be prescribed tablets to treat their condition. In some cases, insulin may be prescribed to type 2 diabetics.

At Pharmacy Planet, you’ll find several types of diabetes medications including two of the most prescribed treatments, Trulicity injection and Metformin Tablets. After completing a short assessment, our pharmacists can dispense your medications and have them shipped right to your doorstep.