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…