You know how the saying goes - A stitch in time ...? Well, Diabetes prevention and management has a pretty similar principle. It is like every other health condition in that sense. Timely action can save you a whole lot of trouble. As is with all bodily functions, your body gives you signals whenever something isn't working quite the way it should be. However, unless you are aware of those signs, it is very easy to miss them.
Common sense would dictate "if it aint broke, don't fix it". Though when it comes to looking out for diabetes, its better to err on the side of caution. Normal blood glucose levels are indeed signs of good health, but people who have diabetes or prediabetes might have fluctuating blood sugar readings. It is a smart idea to get blood sugar tests at frequent intervals (especially if there is family history of diabetes) to help keep an eye out. Though as a proxy to that there are certain symptoms, which should be monitored to keep a check on rising sugar levels:
What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?
- Hunger and Fatigue – Your body needs energy to undertake day-to-day activities. The food you eat is converted into glucose and then, into energy within your bloodstream by insulin. This energy is then, supplied to all your organs. Now, if your body is not creating enough insulin or if your body's cells are putting up a fight against insulin, the glucose cannot be converted into energy for the blood cells. Hence, the onset of diabetes may make you feel more hungry or more tired than usual.
- Frequent urination and sense of feeling thirsty – A normal person needs to urinate between four and seven times a day. In one with abnormal blood glucose levels, urination will be more frequent. While the kidneys re-absorb the glucose into the body when making urine, if the glucose level is high, they will not be able do so. Hence, more urine will be created, and more fluids will be used, causing increased thirst.
- Dry mouth and skin – Given the increased thirst, the body may begin to feel dry overall, leading to a dry mouth and skin, some itching sensation in the skin and general dehydration.
- Blurred vision – Any change in the body's fluid levels, due to an alteration in blood glucose levels will also affect vision. The onset of diabetes may include blurry vision.
- Yeast infections – Yeast infections require an environment, which is rich in glucose. These are more likely if you have higher than normal blood glucose levels. You may experience frequent and severe yeast infections in any part of the body, which is moist -- the under-arms, palms or the sexual organs.
- Wounds that don't heal – Higher than normal blood glucose levels alter the blood flow, and cause nerve damage that makes it difficult for any wounds or injuries to heal.
- Numbness in limbs – Pain or numbness in the limbs may result from nerve damage caused by the changes in blood sugar levels and blood flow.
- Abnormal weight loss – When the body is unable to get energy from blood glucose, it begins to burn fat or muscles. This will result in unplanned, inexplicable weight loss.
- Nausea – The burning of fat causes the body to create ketones, which accumulate in the bloodstream. When this is excessive, the body may suffer from 'ketoacidosis', which will cause nausea.
- Sweet and fruity breath – When ketones build up in the body, they cause your breath to smell like a nail polish remover -- fruity and sweet.
Do You Need to See a Doctor?
If any of the above symptoms persists, please visit a doctor and get yourself checked for presence of type-1 or type-2 diabetes or pre-diabetes. When diabetes is diagnosed early, it is easier to manage the condition so keeping track of how your body reacts is actually pretty critical. While the symptoms of type-1 diabetes appear very quickly, in just a few weeks, type-2 diabetes may emerge slowly and over time. Your doctor might also recommend more frequent blood sugar tests. These should only be undertaken as prescribed by your caregiver.
Recognizing early signs of diabetes is one of the most effective ways to expedite healing and even delay on set with efficient management of the condition. The symptoms can easily be mistaken for and attributed to any other reason which it why it helps to be vigilant about their occurrence. Its always best to keep an eye out for these signs, get yourself tested and monitor blood sugar levels to ensure you are on track when it comes to staying healthy.
Disclaimer: This publication/editorial/article is meant for awareness/educational purposes and does not constitute or imply an endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of any Products. Please consult your doctor/ healthcare practitioner before starting any diet, medication or exercise.