Diabetes is not as uncommon a disease as some people may think. In fact, according to various sources, there are between 25 and 26 million diabetics living in the United States today. Take a look at some of the statistics on Google: over 600 million searches on this subject alone happen every year.
Diabetes is not just a disease that affects older, overweight people; its various types can affect infants and the elderly, and those in between. In order to help you get a better grasp on the nature of diabetes, knowing the signs and symptoms for various age groups might be helpful. Here are some of them.
Watching for the signs and symptoms of diabetes in infants can be tricky. The biggest problem we all face is that our babies cannot tell us why they are feeling bad. Many mothers will tell you they can tell what a baby needs based on the way they cry, but they can't tell us what's wrong when they're sick. Experts tell us to watch for symptoms of low blood sugar in addition to high. High blood sugar (hyperglycemia) is usually associated with diabetes, but low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may also be a symptom.
Babies with low blood sugar may tremble, be cranky, or have pale or blue lips and/or fingers. High blood sugar may present as dehydration, or a baby that seems to need to drink all the time and urinates frequently. Also, a sweetish smell to the urine is indicative of diabetes.
Other symptoms of diabetes in infants include excessive sleepiness, extreme hunger, and sores that are slow to heal. Some sources suggest looking for a dark rash on the back of your baby's neck - it may feel somewhat velvety.
Like infants, children with diabetes may exhibit extreme thirst and frequent urination. He or she may lose weight despite having a ravenous hunger, and in fact, some sources say that unexplained weight loss is the number one sign of diabetes in children. Other symptoms include:
- Uncharacteristic behavior (just not acting like him/herself)
- Vision problems, especially blurred vision that comes and goes
- Chronic yeast infections, especially in girls* Tingling in hands and feet
Adults can develop Type I or juvenile diabetes, most particularly when young adults. Type II diabetes occurs later in life and is different than Type I, but the symptoms of both are quite similar. For adults, the following symptoms may indicate diabetes.
- Unexplained weight loss - Adults in particular need to be cautioned about this symptom, because adults often think any weight loss is good. This is especially true if their doctor has told them that being overweight puts them at risk for diabetes. But if the weight loss is unexplained and is accompanied by any of the other symptoms, it might be a good idea to see your doctor.
- Thirst and urination - Like infants and children, adults with un-diagnosed diabetes are often extremely thirsty. And the more you drink, the more you urinate. If it seems like you do nothing but drink and pee, and never feel satisfied as to your thirst, diabetes might be the culprit.
- Tingling in extremities - As with children, adults may experience tingling hands and feet.
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Yes, there’s a lot to learn about living well with diabetes. Getting in control might take some time. It’s going to mean making some changes in your life, but you can start with small changes, and you don’t have to make them all at once. And you don’t have to do it alone. If you have any questions, join us in the community and ask.
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