The 3 Most Common Symptoms Of Undiagnosed Diabetes: A Guide

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With the constant change in the lifestyle of the human population, the diseases have also been evolving, and so is the attitude of humans towards them.

Diseases that were once classified and attributed to the people of old age are now commonly seen in younger individuals.

And the most concerning fact about this is the negligence of humans towards them, leading to grave complications.

One of these diseases, which is currently of global concern, is Diabetes.

But with the increasing ignorance towards the health of the individuals, this condition goes undiagnosed. To find out the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes, read till the end.

But before that, let’s understand what diabetes is.

what are the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes
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What Is Diabetes?

Before knowing what exactly diabetes is, there is yet another term interchangeably used with diabetes: high blood sugar.

One thing to note is all individuals who have diabetes have high blood sugar levels, but not all individuals with high blood sugar levels have diabetes.

Now the question arises what is blood sugar and what are the normal levels?

What is Blood Sugar?

Blood sugar, also known as blood glucose, is the main form of sugar found in the blood of humans. This is the utmost source of energy and is necessary to carry out functions at the cellular level.

But one thing about the human body is that it can never tolerate anything in excess, even if it plays a significant role in the body’s survival.

Thus, excess sugar is also considered harmful and has serious effects.

The usual fasting blood sugar range is 80 -100 mg/dl.

What Are The 3 Types Of Blood Sugar Levels?

If you have ever undertaken a blood sugar test, you must have tried to read the report and found out that it is estimated in three different types of categories.

1. The Fasting Blood Sugar

To determine the fasting blood sugar levels, the individual is supposed to have a long period of fasting; thus, this is conducted after overnight fasting (between 8-10 hours of fasting).

The average value ranges from 80- 100 mg/dl.

2. Post-Prandial Blood Sugar

Postprandial blood sugar means that the sugar levels in the blood are checked post-meal.

The expected value should be less than 140 mg/dl.

3. Random Blood Sugar

To determine the value of random blood sugar, the test should be done randomly at any given time of day.

The average value ranges between 70 to 240 mg/dl.

How To Measure Blood Glucose?

It is essential to keep a regular check on blood sugar levels. This helps us to monitor the efficacy of the treatment. 

To measure the sugar levels in the blood, blood has to be withdrawn from the peripheral veins.

The old traditional method is to get a blood test done, but with advancements in technology, easy and fuss-free methods are available as the use of a glucometer.

The use of a glucometer is widespread these days, and being a portable and a small device, it is highly reliable and readily available.

What Causes Diabetes?

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Diabetes is a metabolic disease meaning that there is malfunctioning in converting energy from food to energy at the cellular level.

In a healthy individual, the insulin is secreted after a meal. The pancreas produces insulin to maintain the blood sugars.

After the secretion of the insulin, it acts on the cells present in the muscles and other body organs to increase the absorption of glucose, leading to a decrease in the circulating glucose levels in the blood.

The glucose uptake by the cells can be used instantly or stored in the form of glycogen for the future.

But when the body fails to produce insulin or the insulin produced is not in adequate amounts, it leads to diabetes due to the disturbance in the regulation of blood sugar.

Along with knowing the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes, one should also know the possible risk factors.

Risk Factors Of Diabetes

Certain factors predispose a person to develop diabetes in the future. These factors are often termed risk factors and should be noted early to reduce the risk of developing diabetes or, if present then, to control it.

These factors are:

  1. High Blood Pressure

  2. Sedentary Lifestyle

  3. Smoking

  4. Alcohol

  5. Constant Elevated Blood Sugar levels

  6. Obesity

  7. Family History

  8. Age

  9. Pregnancy

  10. High Lipid Intake

To get a detailed and complete understanding of the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes, knowing the types of diabetes is also very important.

Types Of Diabetes

Diabetes diagnosis and classifying it into the correct category and then seeking a planned treatment from a certified healthcare professional are essential.

This brings us to the question of what are the types of diabetes and the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

Diabetes is a broad and vague term often referring to an increase in the glucose level in blood without considering the underlying pathology.

Speaking of types of diabetes, it is broadly classified as Diabetes Mellitus (insulin-dependent) and Diabetes Insipidus (insulin-independent).

1. Diabetes Insipidus

Diabetes Insipidus is a rare phenomenon with no increase in the circulating level of sugars in the blood vessels.

Diabetes Insipidous is caused due to deficiency of the hormone Vasopressin, also known as the anti-diuretic hormone.

The function of this hormone is to regulate the fluid and electrolyte balance in the body and plays a vital role in the reabsorption of water, thus maintaining the amount of urine as well.

In case of deficiency of this hormone, the urine output is increased, and the individual complains of frequent urination. Thus this sign could be an overlapping symptom, and thus correctly diagnosing diabetes and its type plays a crucial role.

2. Diabetes Mellitus

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Where the increase in the circulating glucose levels in the blood remains constant, this type of diabetes is further classified into:

A. Type 1 diabetes

B. Type 2 Diabetes

C. Gestational Diabetes

A. Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as Juvenile diabetes, is caused due to the inability of the pancreas to produce insulin, or even if produced, they are present in insufficient amounts.

As the name suggests, this type of diabetes is found in the young age group, with the mean age being around 13 to 14 years. According to WHO, 9 million people around the world have type 1 diabetes.

The inability of the pancreas to produce insulin is due to the destruction caused by the body’s immune system, thus making it an autoimmune disease.

Type 1 diabetes usually has a positive family history and can be diagnosed as early as early months of life.

Most patients are dependent on direct insulin, which is administered through subcutaneous routes.

B. Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of diabetes to be encountered, making it one of the most prevailing types.

The rate at which the confirmed cases of diabetes are comping up is alarming and a cause of concern.

Various factors are associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, making it a multifactorial disease.

The typical age of getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is usually after 40 years, According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But in some cases, when diabetes gets undiagnosed, one must be aware of the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

C. Gestational Diabetes

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It is widespread for a female to experience hormonal changes during pregnancy and other discomforts.

While only a few females developed gestational diabetes, the others can tolerate these changes well.

The reason for developing gestational diabetes is that the placenta secretes certain hormones that interfere with the cells designed to uptake insulin from the blood vessels.

The females who develop diabetes during the gestation period are at high risk of developing diabetes later in their life. As per an estimation, 47.6% chance of recurrence of gestational diabetes.

What Are The 3 Most Common Symptoms Of Undiagnosed Diabetes?

According to the American Diabetes Association, anyone and everyone above the age of 45 should get themselves checked for diabetes.

But not everyone is aware of this and is living a life with undiagnosed diabetes.

This makes it very important for us to know the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

Early symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes are:

  1. Excessive Urination

  2. Excessive Thirst

  3. Weight Loss

1. Excessive Urination

A healthy person urinates about 1 to 2literss per day. When the amount reaches or exceeds 3 liters, it is considered abnormal.

Increased urination, also known as Polydipsia, is one of the most characteristic traits of uncontrolled diabetes.

When the sugar levels in the blood increase and the insulin are not present in sufficient amounts, the kidneys take over the charge to remove the excess sugar from the blood.

High blood sugar poses a risk; thus, the kidneys try to flush this sugar from the body and urine.

This sugar is accompanied by other essential electrolytes and water from the body and leads to frequent urination.

2. Excessive Thirst

Another characteristic feature of undiagnosed diabetes is increased thirst. This is also one of the early warning signs and should not be ignored.

The feeling of a dry mouth accompanied by excessive thirst are among the early symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

The main reason behind this is frequent urination. When there is frequent urination, there is a loss of a large amount of water from the body. The body needs water in large amounts to compensate for this,  leading to increased thirst.

3. Weight Loss

Unexplained weight loss is one of the symptoms of the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes.

When there is a lack of insulin in the body, the cells starve for energy as the blood sugars are not converted into glucose which can readily be used by the cells.

The body then searches for a different source of energy to fulfill its needs and ends up using stored energy from the muscle and fat cells. This leads to weight loss.

Also, the constant load on the kidneys to clear the excess sugar increase the energy demand and ends up burning the fuel present in the cells.

Along with the above-mentioned symptoms, other symptoms of diabetes include:

  1. Extreme Fatigue

  2. Blurred Vision

  3. Slow healing of wounds

  4. Diabetic Retinopathy

  5. Dark Patches around the neck

  6. Burning Sensation

  7. Polyphagia

  8. Yeast Infections

Along with knowing the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes, one must be aware of the common complications of diabetes.

Complications Of Diabetes

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1. Diabetic Ketoacidosis

Diabetic ketoacidosis is one of the serious complications of diabetes. When the body faces a lack of insulin, it uses ketones to meet the body’s metabolic needs and ends up producing acids in the body.

2. Diabetic Foot Ulcer

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Impaired sensation makes it difficult for diabetic people to recognize even a small cut. These cuts usually turn into foot ulcers, and high blood sugars level can lead to diabetic foot ulcers and foot gangrene, leading to amputation in extreme cases.

3. Kidney Diseases

The kidneys are the central filter system of the body, and a lack of insulin means they have to work overtime to maintain the sugar levels in the blood. This can lead to kidney disease and eventually to high blood pressure.

Research says that there is 30 percent patient of type 1 diabetes face kidney issues while in the case of type 2 diabetes this number is about 30-40 percent.

4. Heart Disease

The overtime, high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the tiny blood vessels and the nerves that control these vessels leading to heart disease.

Also, high blood pressure creates an extra workload on the heart and worsens the condition.

Takeaway

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of concern for humankind.

With hazardous lifestyle changes and environmental factors, diabetes has now become a household name. Even infants are not spared from this disease.

Diabetes itself is a vague term, and various factors need to be undertaken before designing a treatment plan.

With various symptoms presented, the answer to the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes has very well been given in this article.

With careful observation and regular health checkups, early detection of diabetes is possible. 

The symptoms mentioned above are the most common ones but can vary from person to person. Consulting a medical professional is mandatory.

Along with answering the question what are the 3 most common symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes, types of diabetes and its complications have also been discussed in this article.

 

Reviewed by: Omejua Chimdike (B.MLS). Biomedical Scientist (UNN)

About Omejua Chimdike .G.

A talented, knowledgeable and certified medical laboratory scientist with experience in carrying out standard laboratory practices (tests) on patients of various cultural backgrounds with the aim of researching and developing diagnostic approaches that will aid in the diagnosis of diseases and increase patient outcomes to treatment. Currently, working as a research scientist at Everight Diagnostic Laboratory Services limited (Centre for Research and Molecular Studies), Nigeria.

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Gmail: chimdike.omejua.188155@unn.edu.ng

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