DAM: Diabetes Symptoms

Main_symptoms_of_diabetesI knew that I had diabetes before I was officially diagnosed. Sitting in class, reading Time magazine, I came across a PSA print advertisement from, I believe, the American Diabetes Association. On a blackboard style background, bold, chalky white letters asked me to check off any diabetes symptoms I might have:

  • Excessive Thirst – A gallon of milk, seven glasses of water, and a jar of pickle juice one afternoon? I was always thirsty.
  • Frequent Urination – My teachers told me to stop raising my hand and “just go”. Hey, free hall pass. I’ll take it.
  • Blurred Vision – I thought I just needed new glasses. (I wanted new glasses. Mine were not fashionable.)
  • Dry Skin – I kept a small bottle of Clinique moisturizer in my pocket and slathered my face all the time. There was a dry patch that wouldn’t go away, no matter what I did to it.
  • Fatigue – Once a kid who bounced everywhere, I had begun napping after school. And on weekends. And on the bus.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss – 12 1/2 years old. 64 pounds at diagnosis. I looked gaunt.
  • Excessive Hunger – A yogurt and crackers for snack? No more. Clear the refrigerator.

I checked them all off in my head, but because I had no idea how serious and deadly untreated diabetes can be, I didn’t tell anyone. I assumed that it was something that was no big deal.

It’s a huge deal. I consider myself lucky. My blood glucose level was in the 400s when I was finally diagnosed. I was coherent and upright and able to function. I have met others whose families wondered if their children would ever wake up from a diabetic ketoacidosis coma in the ICU.

Additional Type 1 Diabetes Symptoms

Additional Type 1 diabetes symptoms that need immediate attention from an emergency room include:

  • Fruity breath (It can smell like Juicy Fruit mixed with nail polish remover; it’s the body trying to clear itself of ketones – a toxin -through the respiratory system.)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Difficulty breathing, almost to the point of hyperventilation
  • Confusion/Unconsciousness

Additional Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Additional Type 2 diabetes symptoms include:

  • Tingling in hands and feet (It can be painful – or not)
  • Wounds or infections that don’t heal quickly, if at all
  • For women, frequent yeast infections

Type 2 diabetes symptoms may not present as “acute”, but if you have any of these (and others listed above), it’s still important to see a medical professional for diagnosis. Don’t delay…

If you have any of these symptoms (Type 1 or Type 2) or if a friend or a family member has mentioned any of them in casual conversation, or if you’ve noticed any of these symptoms in someone you care about, please get them to a medical professional for testing  and possible diagnosis as soon as possible.

You can help save a life.

These days, Time magazine isn’t left in a classroom for someone to read…

 

 

 

 

 

0 comments

  1. jessi

    Great post! I had all the symptoms of a type 1 and even the wounds not healing quickly and yeast infections that you have listed under type 2. So for anyone else that may have those as well as some of the type 1 symptoms that could be a sign of type 1 as well.

  2. Probably Rachel

    At 22, I had every symptom on both Type 1 lists except for unconsciousness and the doctor didn’t even identify my diabetes until my urine pregnancy test showed sky high glucose and ketones!

    Thank you for sharing the symptoms. I fear that people without a close connection to diabetes don’t notice them.

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