According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) 371 million people in the world today suffer from diabetes, out of which 187 million are not aware that they are affected by the disease. Dangerous even when diagnosed, living with diabetes without being diagnosed and treated is extremely hazardous. Here are the ten serious warning signs that one should never ignore.
1. Increased thirst
Are you waking up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth and rushing to get water way more often than usual? Although consuming a good amount of water each day is healthy, this increased need for it is a symptom called polydipsia.
With diabetes, excess sugar (glucose) builds up in the blood. The kidneys are forced to work overtime and if they cannot keep up, the excess sugar is excreted into your urine, dragging fluids out of your tissues. This, in turn, triggers more frequent urination, which may leave one dehydrated and craving water.
2. Dark patches
Should you notice Dark spots on the skin which seem to be growing or multiplying, inform your doctor immediately, as this is could be a sign of type 1 diabetes.
3. Weight loss
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Although diabetes can be associated with weight gain, weight loss is a symptom as well. When the body loses sugar through frequent urination, it also loses calories. This is especially likely if the diabetes is type 1.
At the same time, this disease may be keeping the sugar from the food you consume from reaching the cells — leading to a constant state of hunger. This sign, combined with the loss of calories through urinating, can cause weight loss. However, it can also lead to binge eating due to a hunger that cannot be satisfied, causing weight gain.
5. Pain in the extremities
Excess sugar in the blood can lead to nerve damage. This may result in a tingling and loss of sensation in the hands and feet, as well as burning pain in the arms, hands, legs, and feet.
6. Weight gain
There are many aspects of diabetes that can potentially cause weight gain. In addition to constant hunger, an effect called “insulin resistance” is another reason why people, specifically with type 2 diabetes, gain weight and struggle to lose it.
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Do not accept mood swings and being extra irritable as “normal.” Frequent changes in emotions are just as important to keep an eye on as physical changes! Low glucose levels can cause extreme changes in mood and depression can often follow a diabetes diagnosis.
8. Changes in vision
Diabetes affects all bodily parts, including the eyes. In the case of high levels of blood sugar, we’ve mentioned that this will pull fluid from the tissues, including the eye lenses, making it very difficult for the eyes to focus.
Left untreated, diabetes can cause new blood vessels to form in the retina — the back part of the eyes — and damage already established vessels. Should these changes progress undetected, they can lead to vision loss and blindness.
9. Slow healing
If your nicks and cuts don’t heal, do not overlook it: slow healing time is a typical symptom of diabetes. Doctors have observed that among diabetics, infections seem more common, although there’s not a lot of research to tell us why. It may be that high levels of blood sugar impair the body’s healing capacity and the immune system. Among women, bladder and vaginal infections are especially common.
10. Itchy skin
This is also known as pruritus and for diabetics, it is typically caused by poor, irregular blood flow. When itching is caused by poor blood flow, it is likely to be felt it in the lower part of the legs and in the feet. There are lotions which can help ease this annoyance.
* This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances.