According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 29 million people in America suffer from diabetes. An additional 86 million adults over the age of 20 have prediabetes, which is a condition where blood sugar levels are elevated but are not yet high enough to be considered type 2 diabetes. Surprisingly, one out of every four people with the disease doesn’t know that they have it.
Unfortunately, diabetic symptoms are often subtle and difficult to recognize. They may come on so gradually that people don’t really notice them until they have already experienced irreversible complications. Early diagnosis is essential since it can lead to better management of the disease and fewer serious complications. The sooner it is diagnosed and treated, the better the chance for a positive outcome. Here are some of the most common symptoms of the disease:
Increased Thirst and Frequent Urination – When blood sugar levels rise higher than they should, the body responds by producing more urine in an effort to flush away the excess glucose. This increase in urination requires extra fluids which leads to an increase in thirst.
Skin or Mouth Dryness – As the body uses fluids to create more urine, other areas may begin to suffer. Diabetes patients often report having dry, itchy skin or a dry mouth. This may lead to an increase in dental cavities as well since saliva helps keep the teeth and gums healthy.
Increased Hunger and Fatigue – Food that is consumed by the body is converted into glucose to be used as energy. Unfortunately, if there is not enough insulin present, this glucose cannot be used by the body. As a result, the cells continue to signal that they need sugar, resulting in an increase in hunger. At the same time, however, because the glucose in the body is not being converted into energy, a person with diabetes may feel fatigued all of the time even if they are getting enough rest.
Blurred Vision – As the fluid levels in a diabetic person’s body fluctuate, the lenses of the eye may swell or change shape. This, in turn, can result in blurry vision. Once blood sugar levels return to normal, the blurriness usually subsides.
Diagnosing the disease is easy. It requires a simple blood test that can be performed at any doctor’s office or pharmacy. Home testing devices are also available that can be used to track changes in blood sugar.
Diabetic symptoms can often be subtle. In many cases, the changes that the disease causes in the body take place slowly over a long period of time. As a result, they may go unnoticed. Being aware of the most common warning signs of diabetes can help lead to an early diagnosis, minimizing the chances of long-term complications. Anyone who notices symptoms of the disease should make an appointment with their doctor for testing as soon as possible. Although diabetes is a serious disease that cannot currently be cured, it can be effectively managed through the use of insulin.