Diabetes signs and symptoms can be tricky to spot but should be acted upon on first suspicion. Diabetes is not something anyone wants, and accepting that your life may have to change quite a lot is not a task to be relished. However, recognising the signs and realising that there could be a problem may be the difference between a ‘pleasant’ diagnosis, where you take yourself to see a doctor, and a horrible one, where you’re brought into hospital by ambulance.
I was very lucky with my diagnosis. I was with my family on a trip to Paris for a relative’s wedding, and suddenly really needed to pee when we were on the motorway. I also had this strange thirst: a kind of salt-sweet taste in my mouth that the Fanta I was drinking was doing very little to get rid of. We couldn’t stop immediately as it was very foggy. By the time we reached a service station it felt like I’d bruised my bladder with holding it in!
We eventually got to Paris and went to the wedding. I felt basically fine, if a little jaded from an early morning and long car trip, and a bit disturbed by the intense need to pee I’d had. The rest of the weekend went well, and we picked up a load of lovely food from a hypermarket on the way home.
I was feeling pretty run-down on the Monday after the trip, and took the day off school, thinking I had the beginning of ‘flu. I was better the next day though, went into school and basically everything was normal. I was pretty knackered when I got home, and decided to treat myself by gorging on some wonderful food and drink we’d brought back.
That night I woke up between 6 and 8 times in the night to pee. Something was definitely wrong. I went to the GP the next day, had a glucose test (which was 33 mmol/l!), was formally diagnosed at hospital, and had my first insulin injection that night.
If it hadn’t been for my food-binge, I probably wouldn’t have noticed things were wrong for a long time. The trouble is most of the symptoms can be easily ignored or put down to something else. Usually, if you’re tired you think “Oh, I’ve just been working too hard/played a lot of sport/ been going out too much lately”, or “I may be coming down with a cold.” Similarly, if you’re peeing a lot you may think you’re just drinking too much water, or possibly that you’ve got a bladder infection. They may not seem significant but these feelings can be life-changing, or even life-threatening.
So watch out for the following symptoms, and go to the doctor to get checked out if you think you’ve got some or all of them:
If you’ve had a few of these symptoms for a while, but you suddenly get the following GO TO A DOCTOR OR A HOSPITAL STRAIGHTAWAY:
You are probably suffering from Diabetic KetoAcidosis (DKA), which is a life-threatening condition. SEEK EMERGENCY HELP IMMEDIATELY.
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