According to the American Diabetes Association, only in 2012, 29,1 million US citizens (or 9,3 percent of the population) had diabetes. What’s even worse, 1,4 million more people will be diagnosed with diabetes every year.
According to researchers, these numbers are likely conservative given the fact that most of the people are even not aware of the symptoms or simply choose to ignore them, sometimes even for months and even years.
However, early diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between living a long healthy life and suffering from severe complications and health problems or even early death.
According to the latest statistics, approximately 86 million US citizens over the age of 20 suffer from prediabetes, a condition characterized by higher than normal blood sugar levels.
Although these levels are still not high enough to be classified as diabetes, they are worrisome and indicate that you are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
For this reason, organizations such as the American Diabetes Association want people to know what to look for so they can take control of their health before diabetes becomes a real issue.
What you need to know?
The first thing you should know is that the symptoms of prediabetes and diabetes are basically the same for both adults and children. Also, it’s essential to understand the difference between the two types of diabetes.
In type 1 diabetes, people usually develop symptoms quickly and often require immediate medical attention.
Type 2 diabetes is trickier and can come on much more slowly. People who develop this type of diabetes can often think the symptoms are nothing to worry about, that they will go away even.
10 Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes:
An insatiable appetite
We al feel an extra appetite at times but people with diabetes may have what seems like insatiable appetite.This can be an issue for many reasons, especially the fact that overeating can lead to obesity, which is dangerous for diabetics.
Because diabetes messes with your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar, it causes your brain to think it is actually starving, when in fact, it’s not.
Frequent and/or excessive urination
One of the earliest signs of pending diabetes is frequent urination with an abnormally large amount of urine. In medical terms, this condition is known as polyuria.
A persistent need to urinate, especially if you have to get up at night to use the bathroom, is something that you need to take seriously and consult your doctor immediately.
Eating a lot of salty or processed foods and drink alcohol can make us thirsty, but excessive thirst, even after you drink, can be a sign you may have diabetes.
If you find you are regularly drinking more than 4 liters (1 gallon) or more per day you may have a condition known as polydipsia.
According to a 2011 study, drinking about four or more 8-ounce glasses of water a day may protect against the development of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia).
Scientists showed that people who drank more than 34 ounces of water a day were actually 21% less likely to develop high blood sugar than those who drank only 16 ounces or less a day.
If you are feeling abnormally thirsty and drinking water doesn’t satisfy your thirst, consult your doctor.
Unexplained weight loss
Unintentional or weight loss that cannot be explained is also another sign of diabetes.
This symptom is more likely to occur in people who have developed type 1 diabetes and can be dangerous as the lack of blood sugar tricks your brain into thinking it is starving so to compensate, it starts to break down protein in your muscles, which causes the weight loss.
Weight loss of between 5-10 kg (11-22 lbs) in just weeks or months is something you should speak to your doctor about.
Feeling tired and weak
When someone has diabetes sugar doesn’t reach the cells, which leaves them starving for energy, which leaves you feeling tired and weak.
In cases of diabetes, your body must also work overtime to compensate for the erratic sugar levels. This, along with your kidneys having to work extra to rid themselves of this extra sugar, can eventually take a toll on you.
So, if you find you are lacking energy and simply exhausted for no reason, you should speak to your doctor.
”Pins and needles” in your hands or feet
A common sign of early diabetes is a feeling of tingling or numbness in your hands and feet. Often this can happen when you are waking up and in some people it can even feel like your hands or feet are burning. This is a sign that sugar is lingering in your blood and is hurting your nerves.
If suddenly your vision gets blurry and you are having difficulty focusing and not able to see fine details, it can be due to high blood sugar levels.
High blood sugar leads to changes in the body’s fluid levels. This, in turn, causes the lenses in your eyes to swell up, affecting your ability to focus. Once the blood sugar level returns to normal, this vision problem resolves.
Dry, itchy skin
There are numerous reasons why your skin can become dry and itchy, and one of them is high sugar levels.
Another skin problem in diabetics is what is called acanthosis nigricans, which is a condition in which the skin darkens around your armpits or neck.
If you see any of these changes in your skin, speak to your doctor who can have your glucose levels tested.
Slow wound healing
Often it’s harder for your skin to heal when you have high blood sugar.
High blood sugar hardens the arteries, making the blood vessels narrower than usual. This causes less blood flow and oxygen to a wounded area, hence taking more time for the wound to heal.
Apart from slow healing, the wound can develop into an ulcer or become infected. Hence, wounds, no matter how small, require close monitoring.
People with unstable sugar levels can often find they feel unsteady and need to eat carbs in order to stave off the feeling.
According to scientists, when your glucose levels drop it can leave you shaky so you crave sugar or carbohydrates to give you that extra boost.
The issue is that when you eat something high in carbs, your body “shoots out” too much insulin, which causes your glucose to drop quickly. “This can lead to a vicious cycle,” warns Cypress.
And so, if you find you are regularly having these issues, you should speak to your doctor.
What can you do?
If you experience any of these symptoms, or especially if you experience several of them, talk to your doctor who can easily test your blood sugar levels. Having an early diagnosis can greatly improve your odds at preventing these symptoms from worsening and becoming dangerous and even permanent.