Identifying Early Signs of Diabetes May Save Your Live

Recognition of the warning signs diabetes can help save your life or that of a loved one. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to a number of life-threatening conditions, but education can lead to diagnosis, treatment and/or prevention.

Types of Diabetes

Warning Signs Diabetes

The common types of diabetes have different causes and affect different populations:

  • Type I, or Juvenile-Onset Diabetes — often diagnosed pre-adolescence, this autoimmune disease is characterized by the failure of the pancreas to produce the insulin needed to transform glucose into energy.
  • Type II, or Adult-Onset — although adult-onset diabetes can affect any age group, the disease often occurs in overweight adults. Although the pancreas produces insulin, excess weight interferes with the body’s ability to use the insulin to convert glucose into energy, and, over time, the pancreas may lose its ability to produce insulin. Treatment often involves weight-loss recommendation, medication to increase insulin production or slow blood glucose production and, in hard-to-treat cases, insulin injections.
  • Gestational Diabetes — this type of diabetes occurs during pregnancy and is almost always resolved after the woman gives birth.

Although treatments for the three types differ, warning signs and long-term risks are similar.

Blood Sugar

Normal blood sugar levels range between 80 and 120. Blood sugar levels consistently above 140 indicate that the body is unable to convert carbohydrates into energy. This, in turn, causes a person to feel tired. Higher blood sugar levels may also cause a person to feel thirsty and urinate more frequently.

Because the body is not using the nutrients that it needs, a person becomes tired, might gain or lose weight, becomes more susceptible to infection and takes longer to heal from cuts, bruises and infections.

Warning Signs Diabetes

Signs Of Diabetes

The most prominent signs of diabetes include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Intense thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss (Type I only)
  • Hunger (more commonly Type I)
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Gum disease
  • Susceptibility to infections (more commonly Type II)
  • Wounds that heal more slowly than normal (more commonly Type II)
  • Numbness in upper/lower extremities (more commonly Type II)

Even though some warning signs diabetes are more common in certain types of the disease, any type of diabetes may cause them, although timing may differ. Because weight is a factor in Type II, symptoms appear gradually as the body responds to weight gain, whereas symptoms of Type I, an autoimmune disease that attacks the pancreas, usually happen much more quickly.

When to Go to the Doctor

Many people do not notice the warning signs diabetes right away. Initial symptoms may seem mild and easy to dismiss — not “severe” enough for a doctor’s visit.

As soon as you think you arblood sugar levelse experiencing signs of diabetes, go to your physician. He/she will start by taking a “finger stick” blood test to find out your present blood glucose level and, most likely, a blood test called an HbA1C that tests the average level of blood glucose for the past three months. Sometimes, a diagnosis also involves a three- to five-hour waiting period, where the patient drinks a sugary drink and blood is drawn and tested at set intervals afterward.

Be sure to tell your physician all your symptoms, not just the ones listed as warning signs diabetes. The more information you give your doctor, the easier it will be to determine a proper diagnosis and find an appropriate treatment course.

 

The Danger of Ignoring Symptoms

Ignoring the warning signs of diabetes not only leads to serious health problems, it can lead to coma or death. Most of the time, this occurs when symptoms like excessive thirst or urination, fatigue or headaches are not taken seriously. Greater awareness leads to a willingness to see your physician for preventing diabetes before symptoms become glaring and life-threatening.

The Value of Education

Diabetes education, with a focus on recognizing early diabetes symptoms, saves lives. Early diagnosis can lead to early treatment, possibly preventing long-term and life-threatening problems.

If you experience one or more of the warning signs diabetes, make an appointment with your doctor. With daily diligence, diabetes can be a manageable disease.

More about the Early Signs of Diabetes

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