You don’t wake up one day and have diabetes, often there are silent symptoms you can miss – in fact 1 in 3 people don’t know they have the disease.
Many of diabetes’ early symptoms can go unnoticed for months or years, and even if you do think you might have diabetes, it can be hard to pinpoint it.
The point is, early detection and treatment can have a profound impact on your long-term health. Studies show a 3-year delay in diagnosis increases your relative risk of heart disease by 29 per cent.
So, by knowing what to look for, you can take control of diabetes before it controls your life. Here’s 8 of the early signs of diabetes:
1. Frequent urination
Have you been going to the bathroom more than usual? This isn’t just a normal sign of ageing – when there’s too much glucose in your blood, your kidneys want to constantly flush it out, resulting in more urine production. If you need to get up every couple of hours during the night to urinate, and you’ve notice you’re going more during the day, talk to your doctor about whether you could have type 2 diabetes.
2. Increased thirst
Along with potential increased need to urinate, you may also feel more dehydrated and be reaching for water more than you usually would. This is especially dangerous for older men and women as the body is not as good at storing fluids later in life. High blood glucose can dehydrate you and make your mouth feel dry. See your doctor if this persists.
3. Foot pain and numbness
It’s a bit of an odd one but food pain and numbness mightn’t be as random as it seems – diabetes can damage your nerves in your extremities. At the beginning diabetic neuropathy starts in the feet and then it progresses upward, meaning it’s not always a prediabetic disorder. Have it checked out if this is a concern for you.
4. Blurred vision
In a high-sugar environment, caused by uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, the lens’ muscles have to work harder to focus. Blurred vision occurs when there are rapid changes in blood sugar (from low to high or high to low) and the eye muscles have not yet adapted to it. Once your diabetes is checked, your eyes will adapt to the sugar levels, and your vision will go back to normal.
5. Tiredness and fatigue
This might sound like a no-brainer but in fact a lot of people ignored signs of tiredness and put it down to being more stressed or busy. Ongoing fatigue is not normal, and shouldn’t run you down every day. If you have diabetes, you may feel tired and sluggish – it is one of the main symptoms that causes people to believe they have the disease.
6. Mood swings
When your blood sugar is out of whack, you might become more short-tempered. High blood sugar can even mimic depression-like symptoms. If you feel your mood swings have gotten severe or there could be something other than hormones at play, see your doctor. You should experience an improvement in your mood after your blood sugar normalises.
7. Cuts or wounds that are very slow to heal
It is not uncommon for an individual with high blood sugars to get a bruise or cut that just does not heal. This is particularly common on the extremities that are furthest from the heart, like hands or feet, and are a very common symptoms of diabetes sufferers. If you notice this issue, you will need treatment straight away to assist you as you don’t want bacteria and infection to spread
Around half of type 2 diabetics have sleep-disordered breathing, so if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it may be a good idea to have your blood sugar levels checked too. The reason for this is that patients with sleep-disorders tend to release stress hormones during sleep, which can raise blood sugar levels, thus increasing chances of diabetes.
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