Diabetics: Signs to look out for

Diabetes mellitus refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body uses blood sugar (glucose). The underlying cause of diabetes varies by type. But, no matter what type of diabetes you have, it can lead to excess sugar in your blood. Too much sugar in your blood can lead to serious health problems.

How can you tell if you have diabetes? Most early symptoms are from higher-than-normal levels of glucose, a kind of sugar, in your blood.

The warning signs can be so mild that you don’t notice them. That’s especially true of type 2 diabetes. Some people don’t find out they have it until they get problems from long-term damage caused by the disease.

Sudden Weight loss
Sudden weight loss is the term used to describe a decrease in body weight that occurs unintentionally and can be a warning sign of diabetes. The amount you weigh is determined by several factors, including age, your calorie intake, and overall health. It is different if you are working out or watching what you eat. However, unexplained weight loss means weight loss that occurs without trying through dieting or exercising. A number of things can cause unintentional or unexplained weight loss, including depression, certain medication, and diabetes.

Frequent Urination
Also known as polyuria, frequent and/or excessive urination is a sign that your blood sugar levels are high enough to “spill” into your urine. When your kidneys can’t keep up with the amount of glucose, they allow some of it to go into your urine. This makes you have to urinate often, including during the night. Polyuria is usually the result of drinking excessive amounts of fluids (polydipsia), particularly water and fluids that contain caffeine or alcohol. When the kidneys filter blood to make urine, they reabsorb all the sugar, returning it to the bloodstream. In diabetes, the level of sugar in the blood is abnormally high. Not all of the sugar can be reabsorbed and some of this excess glucose from the blood ends up in the urine where it draws more water.

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Constant Thirst
Polydipsia is the term given to excessive thirst and is one of the initial symptoms of diabetes. It is also usually accompanied by temporary or prolonged dryness of the mouth. We all get thirsty at various times during the day. Adequate daily intake of water (several glasses) is very important as water is essential for many bodily functions, including regulating body temperature and removing waste. However, if you feel thirsty all the time or your thirst is stronger than usual and continues even after you drink, it can be a sign that not all is well inside your body.

Excessive Hunger
Polyphagia is the medical term used to describe excessive hunger or increased appetite and is one of the 3 major signs of diabetes. An increase in hunger is usually a response to normal things such as intensive exercise or other strenuous activity, but polyphagia can also result from more severe issues such as depression or stress. Because you have so much extra glucose circulating that it comes out in your urine, you may also lose weight, even while eating more and more to appease your hunger. Unexplained weight loss can be its own warning sign of diabetes.

Diabetic Neuropathy
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar (glucose) can injure nerves throughout your body. Diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet. Depending on the affected nerves, diabetic neuropathy symptoms can range from pain and numbness in your legs and feet to problems with your digestive system, urinary tract, blood vessels, and heart. Some people have mild symptoms. But for others, diabetic neuropathy can be quite painful and disabling. Diabetic neuropathy is a serious diabetes complication that may affect 50% of people with diabetes. But you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with consistent blood sugar management and a healthy lifestyle.

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