Early Signs You Have Diabetes, According to Doctors
So many people have diabetes - about 1.5 million people are diagnosed each year in the US and nearly one in ten Americans has diabetes - you might think it would be easy to spot. Although the condition is relatively common, many people go undiagnosed because early symptoms can be vague, easily overlooked at first, or confused with other conditions.
Here from Eat This, Not That! Health is the first signal your body can send when you develop diabetes. Read on and don't miss these safe signs you've already had with coronavirus to ensure your health and the health of others.
eyes closed drinking clean mineral water up close, young woman holding glass
A very common early sign of diabetes is increased thirst, because diabetes causes sugar (glucose) to build up in the bloodstream. Normally the kidneys process glucose, but when they're overwhelmed, the excess glucose is flushed out with your urine. Water from other body tissues is drawn in, leaving you dehydrated and needing fluids to replace what you have lost.
The Rx: Experts like Harvard Medical School recommend drinking four to six cups of water a day. If you are moisturizing but have noticed an increase in thirst, speak to your doctor.
Doorknob on or next to the bathroom
With early diabetes, the body increases urine production and tries to flush out the excess blood sugar. You may need to walk more often. "It's important to know what's normal for your body," says Leigh Tracy, RD, LDN, CDE, a registered nutritionist and diabetes program coordinator at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. "The average individual urinates between seven and eight times a day, but for some, up to ten times a day is normal."
The Rx: "If you urinate more than normal, and especially if you wake up several times in the middle of the night to urinate, speak to your doctor right away," says Tracy.
Hungry woman looking for food in the refrigerator
Diabetes leads to an uncontrolled rise in blood sugar. At the same time, it prevents cells from using glucose for energy production. This lack of energy can make you hungry.
The Rx: "If you find that you are hungry all the time, even after eating regular meals and snacks throughout the day, you should speak to your doctor," says Tracy.
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Depressed woman awake at night, she is exhausted and suffers from insomnia
Because diabetes also increases blood sugar, it prevents the body from using it for energy, which can make you tired. Frequent urination can also disrupt your sleep.
The Rx: There is a difference between tiredness and exhaustion. Normal tiredness improves after rest. If, despite getting enough sleep, you still feel exhausted, you should discuss this with your doctor.
Woman over white with blurred vision and difficulty focusing
According to the Mayo Clinic, high blood sugar levels draw fluid from your tissues, including the lenses of your eyes. This can affect your ability to concentrate and cause blurred vision. Diabetes can also cause new blood vessels to form in the retina and damage established vessels. If these changes progress untreated, they can lead to vision loss.
The Rx: If you have signs of diabetes such as blurred vision, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible and regularly if you are diagnosed. "Diabetes is a progressive disease, even in those with excellent lifestyles," says Dr. Sarah Rettinger, endocrinologist at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, California.
Cuts or bruises that won't heal
Women scratch itchy arm with hand.
Diabetes can cause skin injuries such as cuts and bruises to heal more slowly. High blood sugar can stiffen blood vessels, slow blood flow, and prevent oxygen and nutrients from reaching cuts and bruises to heal. Diabetes can also affect the immune system and slow down the body's natural repair processes.
The Rx: If you find that cuts or bruises are not healing as quickly as they have in the past, see your doctor.
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Accidental weight loss
Woman losing weight
Losing weight without changes in diet or exercise may sound great, but it's the definition of too good to be true: it can indicate a serious health condition such as hyperthyroidism, cancer, or diabetes. When diabetics lose glucose from frequent urination, they also lose calories. Diabetes can also prevent cells from taking up glucose from food for energy, and the body can instead begin to burn its fat stores for fuel. Both can lead to weight loss.
The Rx: If you lose pounds without trying, see your doctor and ask if you should be tested for diabetes.
Tingling, pain, or numbness in your hands or feet
Diabetes can cause a type of nerve damage called neuropathy that can cause tingling or numbness in your extremities, such as your hands or feet. This is dangerous because numbness can make cuts or injuries easier to miss, and diabetes can cause wounds to heal more slowly, which can lead to complications.
The Rx: Be aware of what is going on with your body. If you experience unusual pain, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet, see a doctor immediately.
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Nurse disinfects male arm from blood
"People often have no symptoms of diabetes," says Dr. Kristine Arthur, Internist at MemorialCare Medical Group in Irvine, California. "Sometimes they notice the weight gain, persistent hunger, and increased tiredness associated with high insulin levels. However, these symptoms can occur in other conditions too. So it's important to get blood tests to find the cause."
The Rx: Have your HgbA1c (sometimes called "A1c") levels checked with a blood test every year during your routine exam.
And for the healthiest way to weather this pandemic, don't miss these 35 Places Most Likely to Catch COVID.
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