Frequent Urination

One of the early signs of diabetes is frequent urination due to the body attempting to eliminate a harmful excess of unused glucose from the body. A diabetic condition is the result of insufficient insulin amounts that prevent cells from absorbing and metabolizing glucose for energy. Accumulating glucose levels interfere with many body functions and produce early symptoms of diabetes such as:

  • Excessive thirst and increased appetite
  • Abnormal weight gain or loss
  • Vision problems
  • Craving for sugary foods
  • Unusual irritability and fatigue

When the kidneys are stressed by frequent urination, they are unable to fully perform the functions which they were originally meant to complete. Removing toxins from the body, regulating fluids, releasing hormones meant to maintain blood pressure, controling red blood cell production and manufacturing an enzyme that assists vitamin D in keeping bones healthy are all activities governed by the kidneys.

Uncontrolled diabetes is a leading cause of kidney disease. One kidney disease common to diabetics is called albuminuria. According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in every three individuals with diabetes has albuminuria, a condition in which protein levels in urine are extremely high. This may indicate the kidneys have experienced damage already and need immediate attention in order to prevent complete kidney failure.

In addition to frequent urination, other signs of kidney disease in diabetic patients include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling of legs and ankles
  • Leg cramping
  • High amounts of blood creatinine
  • Morning nausea
  • Anemia
  • Weakness

Because diabetes can sometimes cause peripheral nerve damage, a bladder disorder called neurogenic bladder may result, which causes periodic incontinence as well as frequent urination. People suffering from long-term diabetes will exhibit distended bladders and loss of sensation in the bladder, which prevents them from receiving signals from the brain that the bladder is full. Since normal urination is a reflex regulated by the spinal cord and brain, any damage to the central nervous system can affect the bladder.

Additionally, any excessive loss of fluids either through urination or perspiration can lead to dehydration. Diabetics may experience dehydration and need hospitalization for immediate replacement of fluids. Symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Sticky, excessively dry mouth
  • Extreme lethargy, and drowsiness when severe dehydration is present
  • Little to no urine or urine appears darker than normal
  • Dark circles under the eyes, eyes look sunken
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fainting and dizziness
  • Heart palpitations

Tests for dehydration include complete blood work, blood urea nitrogen, urine specific gravity and measurement of creatinine levels.

Treatment for loss of fluids involves immediate regulation of blood glucose levels with medication and a diabetic diet. Water remains the best fluid for diabetics to drink, but other beverages work well also when consumed in moderation. An eight-ounce glass of orange juice is safe to include in a diabetic’s food plan, since it has a medium glycemic response and vitamins A and B, potassium and folic acid important to healthy management of diabetes. The glycemic index of a food measures how much it elevates blood sugar after being eaten, with a score of less than 10 low and a score of more than 20 high.

Other appropriate beverages which can effectively replace fluids lost by frequent urination due to diabetes include apple juice and grape juice.

Apple juice has a glycemic index of six, lower than orange juice, which has a nine, and also provides healthy amounts of fiber, which helps to regulate blood sugar spikes by reducing sugar absorption through a portion of the upper small intestine called the duodenum.

The glycemic index amount of grape juice is a nine and provides a diabetic with beneficial vitamin C, magnesium, riboflavin and chromium, a trace mineral facilitating the ability of cells to absorb insulin and utilize glucose for energy.


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