Diabetes is a serious lifelong disorder, which, if not well managed, can lead to life and limb-threatening complications. Diabetes is a disorder that can creep up at any time and it is important to know the early signs of the disease.
The telltale signs of Type 2 diabetes, such as frequent urination and excessive thirst, are often subtle, especially early on. But ignoring them can cause worse health problems down the road. Even mild blood sugar elevation can damage your nerves, kidneys, and retinas. And the higher your blood sugar levels and the longer you go without treatment, the worse the damage can get.
When your blood sugar is high, your kidneys expel the excess blood sugar, causing you to urinate more frequently. One of the early warning signs of diabetes is frequent urination that is urgent enough to wake you up to go to the bathroom during sleep.
While your kidneys are working overtime and you’re urinating more frequently, valuable fluids will be pulled from your tissues. Frequent urination will make you feel constantly thirsty.
When you have high blood sugar, your body is actively looking to get rid of it. Because your body expels so much of the glucose you're getting from your food, you may have increased feelings of hunger.
With the discharge of excess glucose, you're losing your largest energy source, and when your body is unable to use glucose for energy, it starts burning fat and muscle, causing weight loss. Unexplained weight loss is considered to be significant at 10 lbs or 5% of overall body weight.
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High blood sugar can cause damage to the small blood vessels of the eye, resulting in a swollen lens that can cause blurred vision. As blood sugar levels rise and lower, your vision may return to normal or worsen, respectively.
Similar to damaged eye tissue causing blurred vision, damaged blood vessels cause weakened blood circulation. Because of this, it's harder for blood to reach the affected area, and minor cuts or wounds can take weeks or months to heal. This slow healing makes unhealed cuts and wounds prone to infection, increasing the risk of amputation.
When your blood sugar is high, your body works hard to get rid of the excess sugar. Not only does this process take a toll on your body, but it also alters the way that your body uses glucose for energy. Excessively high blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, has fatiguing effects among other symptoms. Additionally, the dehydration that accompanies more frequent urination is a common cause of fatigue in diabetics.
High blood sugar can have a significant impact on nerves. This damage can start with feelings of tingling or numbness and can escalate to pain or neuropathy over time.
Insulin resistance can cause your skin to develop dark patches (acanthosis nigricans) that are typically found in the folds of the neck, underarm area, or groin. This darkened skin can appear raised and velvety in texture.
The excess sugar in your blood and urine creates an ideal environment for yeast. Yeast can feed off the extra sugar in genital areas, as well as the mouth or armpits. Maintaining blood sugar can help reduce the likelihood of getting yeast infections.
If you experience one or more of the first signs of diabetes, it is important to see your healthcare provider. A simple blood test can quickly reveal if you have developed diabetes. The test called an A1c, allows the doctor to determine if you are still in the early stages (prediabetes) or have already developed diabetes.
The earlier the diagnosis of diabetes is discovered; the sooner treatment can be started. If you have prediabetes, then only lifestyle changes may be needed to prevent full-blown diabetes. If you have already incurred diabetes, however, you may need a combination of lifestyle changes plus medication to lower your blood sugar.
Symptoms of Diabetes