Usual and Unusual Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Unique To Men and Women
As seen in my clinical practice, few people who are diagnosed to have type 2 diabetes are symptomless without any specific complaints.
The classical signs and symptoms of diabetes need not be there in all patients.
Some people have classical common symptoms of diabetes which is easy to diagnose whereas, some people have unusual rare symptoms which give a clue to suspicion of diabetes.
Since Diabetes is rapidly rising since last decade, it is essential for all to know the signs and symptoms of diabetes which helps in early detection and treatment.
The COMMON signs and symptoms of diabetes are:
1. Increased thirst
2. Frequent urination
3. Increased hunger
5. Unexpected weight loss;
6. Blurring of vision
The UNUSUAL or LESS COMMON signs and symptoms of Diabetes are:
- Frequent infections:
Diabetes leads to low immune status. Low immune status leads to frequent infections.
Since Yeasts (fungus) and Bacteria multiply in high numbers in presence of sugars, frequent infections are common in diabetes.
- Slow healing wounds:
High blood sugar decreases the amount of oxygen delivered to wounds through the bloodstream which slows down the healing process.
- Darkening of skin:
Dark, velvety patches in the folds of skin, usually on the back of neck, knuckles, and elbows are often early warning signs of high blood sugar. High insulin levels increase melanin levels and make skin look dark.
- Improvements in vision:
High blood sugar in Diabetes causes the shift of fluid levels including the lenses of eyes, leading to a change of refractive power and change in power of glasses for better vision.
This sometimes leads to improvement in vision and no need for glasses. When blood sugars are controlled on treatment, again refractive errors of the lens goes back to previous levels and one needs glasses again.
- Tingling and numbness in limbs:
High blood sugars cause nerve damage leading to tingling and numbness sensations in limbs.
- Itching of skin:
Diabetes impairs blood circulation and can lead to dryness and itching.
- Decreased hearing:
Hearing loss could be an early sign of diabetes. Diabetes damages the blood vessels and nerves of the inner ear leading to decreased hearing.
- Increase in snoring :
One study confirmed 23% of sleep apnea which is characterized by loud snoring and daytime sleepiness will develop diabetes in the next 5 years.
People with disordered breathing, tend to release stress hormones during sleep which can lead to an increase in blood sugars.
- Sexual issues:
High blood sugar can cause damage to blood vessels and nerves that are needed for normal sexual response leading to sexual dysfunction in both men and women.
UNIQUE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES IN MEN;
Apart from above common signs and symptoms, men can have
1. Erectile dysfunction
It is the inability of a man to achieve or maintain an erection. According to a recent meta-analysis of 140 studies, 50% of men with Type 2 Diabetes are suffering from erectile dysfunction.
2. Retrograde ejaculation;
Semen instead of ejected outside is being released back into the urinary bladder.
Thus very less semen gets released during sexual ejaculation.
3. Urological issues like hyperactive bladder, inability to control urine and urine infections.
Urological issues can happen due to diabetic nerve damage.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS UNIQUE TO WOMEN ARE:
1. Vaginal itching and fungal infections
2. Lower sexual drive and some cases lead to painful sex.
3. Frequent urine infections
The cause of the above 3 symptoms of diabetes in women has been explained above.
Women with PCOS are at greater risk of diabetes. Symptoms of PCOS are irregular cycles, weight gain, and acne along with fertility problems.
PCOS leads to insulin resistance which in turn causes diabetes.
All diabetes people and their family members must have knowledge of the signs and symptoms of diabetes which helps in early detection of high blood sugar and its complications.