Diabetes comes on as a result of elevated blood sugar and generally falls into 2 categories: Type 1 Diabetes is due to a lack of production of insulin to lower blood sugar and Type 2 Diabetes is a result of insulin resistance, which is typically brought on by obesity, a poor diet or a general lack of exercise. The number of Diabetes cases in the U.S. has been steadily rising for years, and has now reached epidemic proportions. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) estimates that nearly half of the U.S. population has Diabetes or is pre-Diabetic. Get started by browsing through the most common warning signs of diabetes in the slideshow below to find out if you are at risk.
#1: Hunger and Fatigue
Overwhelming and consistent feelings of hunger and fatigue are common signs of Diabetes. Your body needs insulin to convert the glucose from your food into energy; if you’re not producing insulin or your body is resistant to it, you won’t be generating any glucose and therefore you’ll feel tired and hungry.
#2: Frequent Urination
A healthy body reabsorbs glucose as it makes its way through the kidneys. But with Diabetes, your blood sugar is pushed up and your body is unable to absorb all that glucose back in. Naturally, your body tries to expel the glucose that its unable to absorb through urination – a process which also requires your body to bring on more fluids, meaning you’ll need to go more often.
#3: Excessive Thirst
For the same reason that you have to urinate more often, you’ll be more thirsty. If your body is unable to reabsorb glucose, it gathers all available fluids to encourage you to expel it through urination. When your body is constantly soaking up all available fluids to make you urinate, you end up with a dry mouth and an excessive thirst.
#4: Itchy Skin
With your body continually using up excess fluids, there is less overall moisture to be passed around to hydrate your skin. You may experience dry lips, dry mouth and dry skin throughout your body. Dry skin leads to itchiness and this can happen anywhere, but most commonly on your arms and legs.
#5: Blurred Vision
Yet another symptom of dehydration and lack of fluids brought on by Diabetes is blurred vision. With less fluids to hydrate your eyes, the lenses in your eyes can swell up as a result and lead to blurred vision.
#6: Yeast Infections
Both men and women can experience yeast infections, most commonly in the folds of your skin such as between the fingers and toes and in and around your sex organs. Yeast thrives on glucose, and since Diabetes inhibits the conversion of glucose into energy, you’re more likely to produce excess yeast which can lead to frequent yeast infections.
#7: Slow Healing Sores or Cuts
Slow healing sores and/or cuts tend to be a result of Diabetes that has been hanging around for some time. High blood sugar can damage nerves and restrict blood flow which makes it increasingly difficult for your body to heal sores, cuts and other flesh wounds.
#8: Unexpected Weight Loss
If your body is unable to produce energy from glucose as a result of Diabetes, it may start to turn to your excess muscle or body fat for energy. This will result in more fat and muscle being burned up for energy and lead to weight loss over time.
#9: Pain or Numbness in Your Feet or Legs
Your legs and more particularly your feet are the furthest extremities from your heart, so it takes the most work to get blood to flow down to them. Diabetes can restrict blood flow and cause nerve damage, which may result in a consistent tingling or numbing sensation in your feet and/or legs.
#10: Nausea and/or Vomiting
When your body gets to the point where it’s constantly burning fat for energy, it produces what are called Ketones. These ketones can build up in your body and potentially lead to a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Excess ketones will make you feel very ill with persistent feelings of nausea and potential vomiting.