Diabetes is a hard battle. Time and time again, people are reminded everywhere how difficult it is to have this ailment since it takes a long time, if not a lifetime, to address and treat it. It becomes doubly hard in the long run as practically all diseases are more difficult during old age.
What is Diabetes?
According to Google, diabetes is “a metabolic disease in which the body’s inability to produce any or enough insulin causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood.”
What makes diabetes difficult as an inflicted person’s age increase is the possibility of getting various complications that this ailment can lead to. This is why most doctors say that “prevention is better than cure” when it comes to diabetes.
This begs the question, “what are the early signs of diabetes?” and “how can I address diabetes symptoms as early as possible?”
The Two Types of Diabetes
The first thing to know about diabetes in order to manage it is to understand that there are actually two different types of diabetes. Basically, patients who have diabetes are either the ones who totally lack insulin (type 1 diabetes), or those who have too little or cannot use insulin as their body needs to (type 2 diabetes).
Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset or insulin-dependent diabetes), accounts for 5 to 10 out of 100 people who have diabetes. According to Webmd.com “In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, eventually eliminating insulin production from the body.” In the grand scheme of things, the cells in the body cannot absorb sugar – which they need to produce energy – without enough insulin.
On the other hand, type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes) can develop at any age. Its symptoms commonly become noticeable during stages of adulthood. However, the number of children who have this type of diabetes has been rising in recent years. It accounts for the vast majority of people who have diabetes from 90 to 95 out of 100 people.
With Type 2 Diabetes, the body isn’t able to use insulin the right way, thus making the absorption of sugar difficult for the human body. Clinically, this phenomenon is called insulin resistance. As the diabetes gets worse, the pancreas weakens and makes less and less insulin. This leads to a weaker body, rendering it more prone to further complications.
It is true that there are numerous ways to cure diabetes. Yes, you may think getting life insurance with diabetes is also enough to address your condition. However, it is still best to prevent it in the first place.
Remember – prevention is better than cure.
Signs & Symptoms of Diabetes
While both types of diabetes serve as the result of a long-term accumulation of unhealthy habits, there are early warning signs that manifest in the human body. These manifestations can help a possible patient to address the medical concern as early as possible. Here are tell-tale signs that could help one determine if he or she has diabetes.
1. Excessive Thirst and Increased Urination
When you have diabetes, excess glucose – sugar – builds up in your blood. As a result, your hormones signal the kidneys to be forced to work overtime. This is your body’s natural way to filter and absorb the excess sugar.
However, there will come a time when your kidneys can’t keep up. Thus, the excess sugar is excreted through the urine, dragging along fluids from your tissues. This triggers more frequent urination, which may leave you dehydrated. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you’ll urinate even more.
Unusual fatigue is also an indication of diabetes. If you notice that you are more fatigued than you should be, perhaps you should be mindful of your sugar levels. While there are many factors that can cause fatigue, the inclusion of dehydration from increased urination and your body’s inability to function properly (since it’s less able to use sugar for energy production) is one of the symptoms of diabetes.
3. Sudden Significant Weight Loss
Weight fluctuations also fall under the umbrella of possible diabetes signs and symptoms. As explained by the group of medical experts from Mayoclinic.org, “when you lose sugar through frequent urination, you also lose calories. At the same time, diabetes may keep the sugar from your food from reaching your cells — leading to constant hunger.
Since the body experiences “hunger at a cellular level,” unhealthy weight loss becomes an effect on the body, among other things. This is highly probable and frequent for patients who have type 1 diabetes.
4. Blurred Vision
Diabetes symptoms often involve vision. High levels of blood sugar pull fluid from many bodily tissues, and this does not exclude the lenses of your eyes. Because of the pulling of these fluids, the eyes’ ability to focus is heavily affected.
Medical experts warn that if the condition is left untreated, diabetes can cause new blood vessels to form in your retina (the back part of your eye) and harm the existing vessels, eventually leading to blindness. Though it may start as just a mild discomfort, changes in your vision must be addressed right away to prevent them from worsening.
5. Slow-healing Wounds and Infections
The human body finds it hard to heal wounds when you are diabetic. Also, it is important to take note that while a wound heals slowly, wounds fester rapidly.
Being a diabetic means that blood glucose levels stiffen the arteries and cause the narrowing of the blood vessels. Poor circulation leads to decreased blood and oxygen flow to the wound, which decreases the function of red blood cells that carry nutrients to the tissues. Finally, without sufficient nutrients and oxygen, wounds heal very slowly.
In order to address this, Wound Care Centers.org advises that “eating a healthy diet and maintaining good nutrition will help to regulate blood glucose levels and also provide the essential vitamins and nutrients to enhance the healing process. Adequate protein, carbohydrates and vitamin C intake are important factors to aid healing.”
6. Tingling Hands and Feet
Excess sugar in the blood may lead to nerve damage. This is due to the fact that as much as any other systems of the body require, the nervous system also needs stable blood flow. You may notice the tingling sensation and/or the loss of sensation in your hands and feet if you have an extreme case of diabetes.
Also, unusual burning pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet may mean diabetes if there were no harsh physical activities that otherwise would have caused it.
7. Red, Swollen, Tender Gums
Diabetes may weaken your ability to fight germs, since antibodies are also distributed around the body through the circulatory system. Because of this, the risk of infection in your gums and in the bones that hold your teeth in place is also increased. The gums tend to pull away from your teeth, loosening their grip on the teeth and eventually losing them overtime. Your mouth may also develop sores or pockets of pus in your gums, especially if there is a preexisting infection in the gums even before the development of the diabetes.
If you notice these signs and symptoms of diabetes, immediately contact your doctor. Diabetes is a chronic disease that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, especially for older people since they will find it harder to fight it.
As such, the earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner a treatment plan can begin. Diabetes is a serious condition, but with your active participation and the support of health care, you can manage diabetes while enjoying an active, healthy life.Read More