Constant Thirst: A Typical Sign of Diabetes

Constant thirst is not a condition that many people feel are familiar with. The idea of feeling thirsty all the time is almost like a sick form of torture, and for a person who actually experiences this condition—it is torturous. We are going to describe a few symptoms that often accompany excessive thirst. We will also discuss the most likely cause behind this condition and ways that it can be treated.

You may or may not be aware, but when a patient describes the feeling of constant thirst to their doctor, the first possible cause to be considered is diabetes. The most common symptoms associated with the onset of diabetes are a feeling of being constantly thirsty, urinating frequently (especially at night), an increase in hunger even after eating, weight loss, vision trouble, as well as fatigue. There are other symptoms that may or may not show up in the early stages of diabetes, such as slowness to heal, frequent bouts of infection, dry mouth, and unexplainable aches and pains.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 diabetes is a form of diabetes in which the pancreas fails to make insulin because the immune system has destroyed the cells responsible for creating insulin. This type of diabetes is often diagnosed during childhood, or during the teenage or young adult years. While this type of diabetes is fairly common, it is not as common as Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can develop at any phase during a person’s life, including childhood, but is generally more manageable than Type 1. This type of diabetes is caused by the body’s organs failing to absorb the insulin that the pancreas releases. The pancreas compensates by dishing out more insulin, but eventually the pancreas will wear out to the point that it can no longer produce this heightened amount of insulin.

A doctor can test for diabetes a number of ways. The first test is called a fasting plasma glucose test. This test is performed when the patient has fasted for eight hours. This test is most reliable when it is conducted in the morning. If the glucose levels are under 99mg, which indicates normal levels, then a diabetes diagnosis may be put on the backburner while the doctor tests for other possible conditions. Readings between 100mg and 125mg indicated that the patient may be in the “pre-diabetes” stage. Usually diabetes can be prevented or put off for several years if the patient switches to a healthy diet and gets plenty of exercise. Any result over 126mg indicates that the patient does indeed suffer from diabetes.

The second test is called the oral glucose tolerance test. This test is also conducted after a patient has fasted for eight hours. In this case, the patient is given a drink which contains glucose. Two hours after the drink has been consumed, the doctor will conduct the test. If the results show a reading of 139mg or less, then it is likely that the patient does not suffer from diabetes. A reading between 140mg and 199mg is an indication of pre-diabetes. A result of 200mg or above is a pretty good indication that the patient has diabetes.

The third type of test that may be performed is called a plasma glucose test. This test can be performed without concern as to when the patient last ate, but it cannot be used to detect pre-diabetes. Usually a plasma glucose test result of 200mg or more accompanied by symptoms of constant thirst, frequent urination, and unexplainable weight loss is enough to diagnose a patient as having diabetes.

With Type 1 diabetes, insulin injections must be taken on a daily basis in order to survive. With Type 2 diabetes, the main form of treatment involves switching to a healthy diet and cutting back on sugary foods. A person with Type 2 diabetes will also need to monitor their blood sugar levels on a daily basis to ensure that they are maintaining a healthy range. This is done using a method that involves pricking the finger and placing a droplet of blood onto a special test strip which is then inserted into a small machine that will test the glucose levels in the blood and provide a reading of the result.

You should know that diabetes is not the only cause behind constant thirst; however it is the most likely. If you have any doubt about your state of health, please seek an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.


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