Approximately 10 percent of the US population have been diagnosed with diabetes across economic, ethnic, and social backgrounds. In addition, another 7.3 million people have diabetes but have not been diagnosed yet. Diabetes affects multiple systems throughout the body. It occurs when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin (type 1 diabetes) or is unable to utilize insulin efficiently (type 2 diabetes or prediabetes). When the body cannot move glucose from the bloodstream to the cells in the body to be used as energy, your blood sugar becomes too high.
Symptoms of Diabetes
Early detection is vital to decreasing the risk of long term complications, which is why it is important to know the most common symptoms of diabetes. Unfortunately, many of these symptoms can develop slowly over time and go unnoticed. The diabetic thinks that these symptoms are a natural part of aging. Let’s look at the top seven symptoms associated with diabetes.
When glucose levels are higher than normal, the kidneys must work harder to filter the excess sugar from the bloodstream. As glucose is filtered out of the bloodstream, the body will expel it through urination. Because the kidneys are working double time, the frequency of urination will increase. If you notice that you are urinating more frequently, try increasing your water consumption. This sounds counterintuitive; however, it will help flush the excess glucose from the body and reduce the pressure on your kidneys.
If you feel like you are constantly thirsty or you suffer from dry mouth, it can be a sign of diabetes. Because diabetics often experience frequent urination, dry mouth and excessive thirst go hand in hand. When you suffer from diabetes, excess glucose builds up in your bloodstream. As the kidneys remove glucose from the body into your urine, it takes fluids from your tissues, which causes you to become dehydrated. Dehydration leaves you thirsty. As you begin to drink fluids, your thirst will be quenched; however, you will urinate more and more.
If your diabetes is left untreated, you will begin to experience extreme fatigue. High glucose levels impair the body’s ability to convert glucose into energy. Furthermore, as the kidneys filter glucose out of the bloodstream, it will also pull nutrients from the body, which can cause you to feel fatigued. Furthermore, the dehydration experienced with diabetes can leave your limbs feeling tired and heavy.
Because your body is continually excreting excess glucose from the body, the nutrients in your foods will be leached out of your body and expelled through urination. As the body cannot properly utilize glucose for energy, your body is not receiving the fuel that it needs causing you to feel hungry. In fact, you may begin to notice that although you eat large amounts of food, your weight remains steady.
Numbness and Tingling
Untreated diabetes can cause nerve damage. When elevated glucose levels combine with elevated triglycerides, it may cause the nerves in your extremities to become damaged. The damage can cause burning sensation, numbness, and tingling in the hands and feet. This numbness and tingling are often referred to as peripheral neuropathy.
When your glucose levels remain elevated, fluids are pulled from all tissues in the body, including your eyes. As your eyes become dehydrated, your vision can become blurry. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it is vital to get annual eye exams. Ignoring changes in your eyesight and blurred vision can lead to long term issues, including vision loss, and even blindness.
If you have undiagnosed diabetes that is not controlled, you may notice that bruises and cuts take a long time to heal. Bladder infections along with vaginal infections increase in frequency. Increased levels of glucose in the bloodstream can interfere with the natural healing process of the body. As glucose levels increase, it causes systemic inflammation which can interfere with the immune system, resulting in increased infections and slow healing.
Getting a correct diagnosis can help prevent further damage to the body. If detected soon enough, it may help with type 2 diabetes management. Eating a healthy diet, getting at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, practicing stress relief techniques, and getting seven hours of sleep each night can help reduce the risk of developing symptoms of diabetes. Work towards a healthy body weight by including cardiovascular and strength training to help reduce glucose levels and improve your overall health.