Diabetes – The Silent Killer
Diabetes has almost become a disease of epidemic proportions. A chronic condition, it has no cure. The surprising thing is most people who have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes do not show any symptoms. It is because of this; the condition is also known as a ‘Silent Killer.’
The pancreas produces a hormone known as Insulin which is essential for efficient glucose metabolism in the body. When the food is broken down, it gets converted to glucose molecules. These enter the bloodstream, and it is insulin that is responsible for delivering them to the cell for assimilation and for being used to provide energy.
Due to several factors such as gene expression, obesity, too much sugar consumption, a sedentary lifestyle, making wrong food choices and stress, the body stops assimilating the glucose coursing through the bloodstream. This could be because it becomes resistant to insulin or that it stops producing it in sufficient quantities causing the onset of diabetes. Since it hampers efficient glucose metabolism, the glucose levels in the blood increase.
Apart from everyday complications like nausea, dizziness, headaches, and vision problems amongst others, diabetes also leads to more severe complications like heart disease, loss of limbs, neural and muscular atrophy and severe organ damage, especially to the kidneys and the eyes.
The condition may not show any obvious symptoms, but there are enough warning signs that become apparent when the body has high blood sugar levels.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms, Warning & Signs: What can you do about them?
- Frequent Urination
When the blood sugar levels increase, the body reacts by attempting to throw it out to achieve a state of equilibrium. The seat of this activity is the kidneys. They produce more urine to reduce glucose in the blood and throw it out as toxins. This leads to frequent urination. If you have been making recurrent trips to the washroom, observe if you have others Type 2 Diabetes warning signs and talk to your doctor.
- Excessive Thirst
High blood sugar leads to frequent urination. To combat this excessive loss of fluid and to maintain equilibrium in the body, one feels thirsty again and again. If you notice that you are guzzling down gallons of water, talk to your doctor. You could have diabetes as this is one of the Type 2 Diabetes warning signs.
- Dry Skin and Mouth
The body loses a lot of fluids through leads to dry skin and dry mouth. These are signs of dehydration. Many people also suffer from itchy skin due to loss of moisture and due to an imbalance in the body’s electrolytes. Beware of dry and itchy skin as this is one the Type 2 Diabetes warning signs.
- Sudden Weight Loss
Another Type 2 Diabetes warning sign is a sudden, unexpected weight loss. This is because of loss of fluids and burning more calories through all the frequent urination. Also, those with diabetes cannot metabolize the blood glucose leading to weight loss.
- Excessive Hunger
Craving food all the time? Watch out as this is one of the Type 2 Diabetes warning signs. This is the eternal paradox of diabetes. One has high blood sugar levels because of all the glucose coursing through in the bloodstream, but the person still feels impoverished of energy. To get energy, the body demands more glucose, making the person feel hungry.
Excessive hunger may have another reason for people with diabetes. The body becomes resistant to insulin. This sends a signal to the pancreas to produce more insulin. High insulin levels in the blood signal the brain to demand more food to balance out the hormone.
- Numbness in the Feet
Pain in the foot and more extreme cases, numbness in the feet is a Type 2 Diabetes warning sign. This could be because of damage to the nerves in the legs. High levels of blood sugar, over a period, cause neuropathy or nerve damage. Since the legs are at the extremities of the body, they are first to get affected by diabetic neuropathy. The person may also notice a tingling sensation or pain in the feet.
- Frequent Urinary Tract Infections
Women who are not aware that they have diabetes suffer from urinary tract infections quite frequently. High blood sugar levels provide the perfect breeding grounds for yeast and bacteria in the vagina to proliferate leading to recurring yeast and bacterial infections and vaginal thrush. Controlling blood sugar helps a lot in reducing the frequency of these infections. These Type 2 Diabetes warning signs are relevant to women.
- Blurred Vision
Frequent and rapid changes in the blood sugar levels lead to changes in the lens in the eye. The lens changes its shape to accommodate the formation of images in the eye. With uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes, the lens loses its ability to change its shape. The eyes muscles have to work more to accommodate this loss of flexibility. It is one of the early Type 2 diabetes warning signs. Once the body adapts to the high sugar levels, the vision returns to normal.
- Headaches and Fatigue
This is another of the Type 2 Diabetes warning signs. High blood sugar levels lead to frequent headaches and in more severe cases even a loss of consciousness. The person also feels extremely tired due to fluctuating sugar levels.
If you show any of these Type 2 diabetes warning signs, talk to your doctor and get yourself checked. A simple blood sugar test will be done to determine your blood sugar levels. While the disease doesn’t have a cure yet, effective diabetes management can be done through exercise, meal planning and taking medications on time. People who have diabetes live on to have healthy, quality lives. They have to ensure that their blood sugar levels stay stable and do not fluctuate too much.