How to recognize the first symptoms of diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood are elevated. Most of the food we eat is converted into glucose, which our body uses for energy. The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels by allowing sugar to enter the cells where it is converted into energy for the body. In addition, excess sugar is stored by insulin in the muscles and liver. If there is no insulin or it is insufficient, sugar cannot enter the cells, it remains in the blood and there is an increased level of sugar in the blood.

There are two basic types of diabetes: type 1, when the pancreas does not produce insulin, and type 2, when the effect of the produced insulin is reduced.

  • Type 2: It is the most common form of diabetes (90% of people with diabetes have type 2), which is usually detected in old age and in an advanced stage of the disease’s development when complications have occurred in other organs.
  • Type 1: Due to a disorder of the defence (immunological) system in type 1 diabetes, antibodies are created that destroy the pancreas’ own cells that produce insulin. The disease develops with the destruction of 70-90% of cells. It usually occurs in children and younger people.

What are the warning signs/symptoms of diabetes?

Symptoms of both types of diabetes are: 

  • excessive thirst
  • frequent urination
  • unexplained weight loss
  • fatigue and exhaustion
  • strong hunger
  • sudden vision disturbances
  • lack of concentration
  • dry skin
  • wounds that heal slowly
  • more frequent infections

In the case of type 2 diabetes, at the beginning of the disease, the symptoms are often not expressed to such an extent that it takes an average of 5-7 years before a diagnosis is made. In type 1, the disease appears suddenly.

Complications of diabetes

The longer the diabetes lasts, the greater the possibility of developing complications. Unfortunately, type 2 diabetes is often discovered in an advanced stage of disease development, when complications have occurred in other organs, such as changes in blood vessels that can cause a heart attack or stroke, kidney failure, nerve damage, and damage to small blood vessels in the eye (retinopathy). With better regulation of diabetes, the occurrence of complications is significantly reduced and the risk of further progression of the disease is reduced.

What are the prevention measures?

Currently, type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, while healthy eating habits, physical activity and maintaining a desirable body weight can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

According to the World Health Organization for diabetes, regular walking for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 35-40%.

A.A.
18.07.2022.