5 Signs of Diabetes

Uncategorized Aug 11, 2019

“Do I have diabetes?”

 

It’s a scary question, but one that many of us are asking ourselves.  The CDC says that, as of 2017, 100 million Americans had diabetes or pre-diabetes. Undoubtedly that number is even higher today. Unfortunately the disease is often without symptoms early on. But there are things you may notice if you pay attention. 

Here are 5 early warning signs that may indicate that you have diabetes or pre-diabetes.  

 

1. Fatigue  Diabetes results in high levels of sugar in your blood, but not enough sugar (or energy) in your cells. As your body works to get your blood sugar down, you may notice less energy than usual. This feeling of tiredness may be particularly evident after a high carbohydrate meal. You may lose interest in hobbies, or just be spent at the end of the day. Exercise may become more difficult than it was in the past. 

             

If you find yourself sitting on the couch more than usual, with no energy or drive to get up and get going, consider having your blood glucose checked. 

 

2. Frequent Urination  When your blood glucose levels are high, your body tries to eliminate excess sugar through the kidneys. That is really the only way to excrete sugar from the body (otherwise sugar must be burned for energy or stored as fat).  As a result, you may notice that you urinate more frequently than you used to. This can be especially evident at night.

 

3. Increased Thirst Because of the increased urination described above, and because of increased concentration of glucose in the blood, diabetes often results in increased thirst. Your body is trying to dilute the concentration of sugar, so it sends thirst signals to the brain. This, in turn, increases urination even more. 

 

4. Numbness or Tingling  While usually thought of as a late sign of diabetes, one can develop neuropathy, or numbness, tingling, and pain in the extremities very early in the disease. While poorly understood, it is thought that excess blood glucose and the subsequent excess blood insulin results in damage to the sensory nerves in the arms and legs. This often affects the feet before it affects the hands. It has been described as stinging or burning pain, or sometimes just a feeling of numbness.

 

 
5. Blurry Vision The fluid inside your eyes is a reflection of your blood. So as the blood glucose goes up, so does the concentration of glucose in the vitreous fluid inside your eyes. This causes the sharpness of your vision to diminish, and may seem worse at night or while driving. Diabetes can also damage the blood vessels in the retina which can cause blurry vision as well. These visual changes may come and go, or may be persistent.

 

There are other early warning signs of diabetes and pre-diabetes (also known as insulin resistance), but these are the most common. Unfortunately, many people have no symptoms early on, so it’s important to know the risk factors and have your blood glucose checked regularly if you are at risk. 

Early diagnosis of diabetes and pre-diabetes is vital to minimizing the effects of the disease. Diabetes can cause loss of vision, heart attack, stroke and kidney failure, so it’s important to get the facts and know if you have the disease.

When caught early enough, diabetes is very often reversible, and pre-diabetes is almost always reversible. If you have any of the warning signs above, or if you are at increased risk of developing the disease, have your blood sugar checked regularly and commit to decreasing your risk.

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