One in eleven adults is thought to have diabetes. This disease occurs when your body is unable to produce insulin properly, resulting in dangerously high blood sugar levels. Getting diabetes diagnosed early is important – if ignored it can lead to kidney failure, blindness and even death. Here are just some of the tell-tale signs that you may have diabetes.
A classic symptom of diabetes is frequent urination. When blood sugar levels are too high, the kidneys try to compensate by filtering out as much sugar as they can through your urine. If you find you’re constantly having to visit the bathroom – including during the night – you could have diabetes.
Frequent urination can cause the body to get dehydrated – which can lead to constant thirst. Accompanying this can be constant hunger as a result of low energy levels and the need to re-energise.
Lack of energy
If you feel tired all the time, diabetes could be to blame. Our cells are unable to effectively absorb sugar from the blood if there is too much sugar. This sugar absorption is essential for providing us with energy and keeping us active.
Slow healing wounds
If cuts and bruises take ages to heal, it could also be due to diabetes. High levels of sugar in the blood can negatively affect circulation and can damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to slow healing. This can sometimes lead to infections.
Excessive sugar in the blood can lead to blood vessels around the body getting damaged – most noticeably in the eyes. This can lead to blurred or low vision. If caught early, this can be treated, but if ignored it could cause permanent damage.
Tingling in hands/feet
Damage to nerves in the hands and feet and low circulation as a result of high sugar levels can also lead to tingling in these extremities. If left untreated, this can evolve into total numbness in these areas, pain or severe itching. This is known as neuropathy.
Unexplained weight loss
Weight loss is more common in those that have type 1 diabetes (which is genetic) rather than type 2 diabetes (which is generally caused by lifestyle factors), but it can occur with both types. Because your body is not converting sugar into energy, it may compensate by burning fat. This can be dangerous if you were already slim.
What to do if you think you have diabetes?
There are lots of treatment options available for those with diabetes. The best thing you can do is visit a doctor who will be able to test your blood sugar levels. Depending on the type and severity, they can then recommend the best treatment options going forward. A healthy lifestyle consisting of a balanced diet and exercise is essential for managing diabetes – in some rare cases, it can even be reversed.