The American Diabetes Association reports that 6.2 million Americans are living with undiagnosed diabetes. This means that 1 in 5 diabetics has no clue they have high blood glucose levels.
Diabetes develops when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin (a blood sugar-regulating hormone), or it doesn’t work as it should. To learn more about the types of Diabetes and its management visit our Endocrinology page.
The scariest part of this disease is that it sneaks up on you without any warning. You might experience a few vague symptoms before the onset of Diabetes and if you are not careful to monitor them, you might put yourself at the risk of damaging your health permanently.
Let’s give you some telltale warning signs of Diabetes.
- Too many trips to the bathroom
An average human pees five to seven times a day, but people with uncontrolled blood sugar may need to pee a lot more.
The Sign: Frequent and/or excess urination or ‘polyuria’ that is urgent enough to wake you up to go to the bathroom during sleep
The Reason: Unable to reabsorb the high blood sugar, the kidneys try to expel the excess through urine. This makes you pee more often as the body makes more urine.
- Increased appetite
The Sign: Increased appetite/ hunger pangs or ‘polyphagia’
The Reason: Your body uses glucose for energy and when the system is damaged, and your cells cannot absorb this glucose; they keep looking for fuel causing you to be constantly hungry
- Dry Mouth
The Sign: Dry mouth and chapped lips or ‘xerostomia’
The Reason: Because the body is using fluids to make pee, you could get dehydrated, your mouth, lips and tongue may feel dry and you can have difficulty swallowing, speaking, or chewing.
- Always Thirsty
The Sign: Extreme thirst or ‘polydipsia’
The Reason: As your kidneys are working overtime and you are peeing more, fluids are taken out of your body, and you constantly feel thirsty.
- Frequent infections
- Urinary tract infections,
- yeast and fungal infections (in the genital region, between fingers and toes, armpits, nailbeds),
- bacterial infections (boils, styes [eyelashes and eyelids] and folliculitis[scalp]).
The Reason: Excess blood sugar makes an ideal environment for bacteria, fungi, and yeast to thrive causing many infections all over your body.
- Tingling and numbness
The Sign: Tingling, pain and numbness in hands and feet or ‘neuropathy’
The Reason: This is a sign of nerve damage caused due to defective sugar uptake by the body.
- Blurry vision
The Sign: Blurred vision
The Reason: The high blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels in the eyes leading to lens distortion and the inability to focus.
- Unexpected weight loss
The Sign: Rapid weight loss
The Reason: If your body can’t use the energy from your food, it will start burning muscle and fat for energy instead, leading to rapid unexplained weight loss.
- Patches on the skin
The Sign: Dark patches in the skin or ‘acanthosis nigricans’
The Reason: Commonly seen in the armpits, groin and neck folds, dark velvety skin patches can be one of the first signs of insulin resistance.
- Unexplained Nausea and vomiting
The Sign: sudden bouts of nausea and vomiting due to ‘ketosis’
The Reason: When your body cannot use sugars, it starts burning fats to produce energy. This leads to increased ketones in the blood that cause nausea and vomiting and can be potentially life-threatening.
- Delayed wound healing
The Sign: Slow healing of minor cuts and wounds
The Reason: High blood sugar levels, narrow the blood vessels and impair circulation limiting the nutrients and oxygen from reaching the wounds, and minor cuts or wounds can take weeks or months to heal.
- Mood changes
The Sign: Irritability, Anxiety, Mood swings
The Reason: Constantly fluctuating blood sugar levels have been found to affect your mood and are often associated with bouts of depressive episodes.
The Sign: Extreme fatigue and lethargy
The Reason: The most common explanation is that fluctuating blood glucose levels means less/inappropriate amounts of glucose for the body to use for energy and so you feel tired.
- Itchy skin
The Sign: Itchy hands and feet
The Reason: It can be due to poor circulation, dehydration, and infections due to fluctuating blood sugar levels.
- Reduced sex drive
The Sign: decreased libido and erectile dysfunction
The Reason: Fluctuations in the blood sugar levels damage the small blood vessels affecting your sexual appetite and wellness.
You need to be attentive to the signs your body is giving you. If you remember the basics—you can avoid diabetes and many of its consequences!
If you think you may be experiencing any of these early signs of diabetes, it’s best to talk with us right away. Call us @ 718- DORAL-55. To read more about Diabetes Management, Click here.