In a country like ours, diabetes has become increasingly widespread. Most of us know at least one person in our family who suffers from diabetes, a mix of genetics and the general lack of a healthy lifestyle has made it common fare. However, most people fail to grasp how serious diabetes actually is. Its effects are far more severe if left uncontrolled.
Diabetes negatively affects our body’s ability to produce and use insulin, causing glucose to remain in the blood rather than reaching the cells. It is also a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, and stroke. In 2019, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths worldwide. This makes it all the more important to stay on the lookout for warning signs.
Some of the indicators for early-stage diabetes are:
1. Making constant visits to the loo
Our bodies normally reabsorb glucose as it passes through the kidneys. But when blood sugar levels rise due to diabetes, our kidneys may not be able to reabsorb all of it. Some of this excess glucose from the blood ends up in the urine where it draws more water. The body produces more urine than usual as a result of this, leading to the frequent urge to urinate.
2.Feeling excessively thirsty and hungry
The recurring urination required to eliminate extra sugar from the bloodstream might cause the body to lose more water. This can lead to dehydration, making you feel more thirsty than usual.
The food we eat provides carbohydrates which are broken down by the digestive system into glucose, which the body uses to generate energy. In diabetics, insulin resistance keeps glucose from entering the cells and providing energy. Therefore, the muscles and other tissues will be low on energy. As a result, people with diabetes often feel hungry, even after eating.
3.Unexplained weight loss
Unexplained weight loss means weight loss without deliberate efforts through dieting or exercise. In people with diabetes, insufficient insulin prevents glucose from entering the body cells to generate energy. As a result, the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, causing a reduction in overall body weight. This leads to weight loss.
4.Slow healing of cuts & wounds
In diabetes, blood circulation slows down and makes nutrient delivery to wounds difficult. It also leads to reduced tissue oxygenation and compromised white blood cells function which decreases the body’s ability to fight bacteria and close wounds. As a result, even minor cuts and wounds may take weeks or months to heal, which raises the risk of infection. So if your wounds are taking longer than usual to heal, it might be time to consult a doctor.
5.Vision getting blurry
Here’s a lesser-known fact about diabetes- high sugar levels in the blood can harm the blood vessels in the eyes as well, resulting in hazy vision. This blurry vision might affect one or both eyes.
So if you suspect your vision problems might have an underlying cause, get it checked at the earliest.
6.Experiencing fatigue and exhaustion
When there is a lack of glucose in the cells, the body becomes tired. Frequent exhaustion and fatigue are one of the most telling signs of diabetes and should not be ignored.
Signs of diabetes are often mild or non-existent, especially at the outset. People frequently minimize or rationalize their symptoms, causing them to worsen until they are so severe they cannot be ignored. This is why it is critical that you see your doctor for check-ups and screenings on a regular basis.
This article is intended as general guidance only and is primarily based on the sources referred herein. HUL does not endorse the advice, opinion or other information provided in this article. Please consult your doctor for specific conditions or queries before making any changes to diet and food intake.
- Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2020 Apr; 13(4): 60
- American Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences 2012, 2(3): 45-49.