In the United States alone there is an estimated 17 million people that suffer from diabetes. Of those 17 million who suffer this disease nearly 5.9 million have not been medically diagnosed. The reason for this could well be that many of the early warning signs of diabetes are shrugged off by those who suffer them because the symptoms do not seem that severe.
Even when those who heed the early symptoms of diabetes do go to the doctor they often express disbelief that they are diagnosed as being diabetic. In the early stages of diabetes the symptoms can be more of a minor annoyance, leading those who are diagnosed saying things like “I don’t feel sick”. In fact many people are diagnosed with diabetes when they visit the doctor because they think they have something else wrong with them. Many of the early signs of diabetes are often attributed to some other ailment or condition.
The sooner the symptoms of diabetes are recognized and diagnosed the better the chances of a managing this condition and avoiding many of the serious and sometimes life threatening complications this disease can bring. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death by disease in the United States today.
The American Diabetes Association has a list of the early warning signs of diabetes and they include:
1. Increased Urination – This is caused by high blood sugar levels which increase the amount of blood that flows through the kidneys.
2. Excessive Thirst – The increased output of urine can lead to dehydration.
3. Extreme Hunger – Because diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin or insulin resistance glucose is unable to cross over from the blood stream into the cells where it is needed for energy production. The body thinks it’s hungry because of the energy deficit and manifests hunger pangs.
4. Unexplained Weight Loss – The body will start to break down its own proteins (muscle) and fat to make up for the perceived lack of cellular energy. This despite the fact that the person is actually eating more.
5. Fatigue – Caused by the decreased energy levels.
6. Irritability and Depression.
7. Vision Impairment – An increase in blood volume caused by high blood glucose levels can lead to swelling of the eye’s lens.
Taken by themselves, or even as a group it is easy to see why these diabetic symptoms could be seen as part of any number of other conditions that can cause them. Everyday stress can cause fatigue, irritability, and depression. Depression is known to cause weight loss. Many of these signs and symptoms start out small; barely noticeable and as time progresses many people don’t actually see the changes because of the slow rate at which they occur.
These symptoms will get progressively worse as the affects of the diabetes creates a variety of complications that affects many of the bodily systems. It is important to note that these symptoms will not resolve themselves.
The sooner one can recognize the early warning signs of diabetes the sooner they can seek medical attention. Diagnosing diabetes early is key to successfully managing its long term affects. There is no known cure for diabetes but with lifestyle changes and proper medical treatment it can be controlled and its affects minimized.