Type 2 diabetes is far and away the most common form of the disease, and it’s the one that can sneak up on you without causing initial symptoms. It’s called “the silent killer” for a reason. It’s quite likely that millions of people are living their lives without knowing that they have diabetes, and that’s a risk that can lead to serious health problems such as nerve damage, vision problems, kidney disease, heart attack and stroke. Today there are more ways to treat and control diabetes than ever before, including diet and lifestyle changes that can even eliminate diabetes completely in some cases. Before diabetes can be treated it must be recognized. The following signs and symptoms may be an indication that you have it.
1. FREQUENT URINATION
An increase in the number of times a person has to urinate may be an indication of diabetes. As the body loses its ability to use the glucose in the bloodstream, the kidneys respond by trying to remove the extra glucose through urination, which can create the need to visit the bathroom more often than normal. Waking up at night to urinate, especially multiple times is quite common for those who are developing type 2 diabetes.
2. EXCESSIVE THIRST
As a result of the kidneys working overtime to rid the bloodstream of unused glucose, higher levels of fluid are flushed from the body. In response, a person is quite likely to feel thirsty much more often than usual as the body signals it’s requirement to replace lost fluids.
3. WEIGHT LOSS
Although diabetes is often cited as a risk factor for obesity, the onset of diabetes can cause rapid weight loss. The inability of the body to absorb glucose tricks it into thinking that starvation is the problem, and the body will then begin to use protein from muscle tissue for fuel, resulting in weight loss. A loss of 10 or 20 pounds over a period of two or three months is not considered a normal, healthy weight loss.
4. FEELING HUNGRY ALL THE TIME
When the body thinks it is starving due to its inability to absorb the glucose it normally uses for fuel, it can trigger excessive hunger in response. As blood sugar levels change, feelings of hunger may be the result.
5. SKIN PROBLEMS
Skin conditions can signal the onset of diabetes and will often include dry or itchy patches of skin, as well as a condition known as acanthosis nigricans, which is characterized by darkened areas of the skin around the neck and armpits.
6. PROLONGED HEALING
While you might expect a cut, scrape or another injury to normally heal in a week or two, diabetes can slow the healing process significantly. Too much glucose in the bloodstream can damage blood vessels and hamper their ability to provide adequate blood flow to injured areas, which is crucial for proper healing.
7. FUNGAL INFECTIONS
Diabetes can also suppress the immune system making the body much more vulnerable to infections. The most common infections are yeast infections and other types of fungal infections which can flourish due to the body’s inability to fight them off.
8. BLURRED VISION
Abnormally high blood glucose levels can cause changes in the eyes, altering the shape of the lens which then results in blurred vision. In addition, seeing occasional “flashes” of light and seeing “floaters” may also be a warning sign. Fortunately, vision problems like these are often reversible after blood sugar levels are returned to normal levels. Failure to address these symptoms could cause permanent damage as well as blindness.
9. TINGLING AND NUMBNESS IN THE EXTREMITIES
Nerve damage can manifest by causing numbness or a tingling sensation, particularly in the hands and feet. Experiencing a burning pain or swelling in these areas are also potential warning signs that should not be ignored. This type of nerve damage can become permanent if left untreated, so getting medical attention early will greatly increase the chances of reversing it.
10. CONSTANT FATIGUE
Being subject to high blood sugar levels over an extended period of time may cause a nearly constant state of fatigue, which also may be accompanied by irritability. It’s often easy for someone to slip into a state of acceptance and become accustomed to feeling tired and fatigued all the time. Many people don’t realize how bad they had been feeling until they feel better after receiving treatment.