Although diabetes is a common health condition, some of us lack a basic understanding of its causes and symptoms. When you know about some of the warning signs that spell diabetes, you’re ahead of the game. This knowledge could both keep your health in check and reduce the risk of diabetes complications.
According to the International Diabetes Federation’s 2019 Atlas, nearly half a billion adults worldwide are currently living with diabetes; by 2045 this number will rise to 700 million. The most common form is type 2 diabetes, accounting for around 90% of all diabetes cases. In 2016, diabetes caused 1.6 million deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The statistics shouldn’t scare you, if you think of how many other people saved their lives through early diagnosis. In fact, over 50% of type 2 diabetes is preventable.
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A leading health website, “Advices in Health,” recently offered insight into some frequently-overlooked warning signs of diabetes. They’re worth sharing:
- Thirst: Among the early signs of diabetes is excessive thirst which then leads to frequent urination. This could mean your kidneys cannot keep up with the high blood sugar building up in your body, causing it to dehydrate and your kidneys to make excessive amounts of urine.
- Fatigue: Fatigue is a common symptom of diabetes caused by high blood sugar. It tends to be easy to ignore or blame on stress. It’s important to differentiate between tiredness which goes away after a good rest and fatigue which includes excessive drowsiness and lack of energy that disrupts your daily activities over an extended period.
- Blurry vision: Visual complications are common in people with diabetes. The high blood sugar resulting from diabetes will “weigh” on your eyes, too, making the lens swell and cause your eyesight to be blurred. Diabetic retinopathy is one of the undesirable (but avoidable) outcomes.
- Bad breath: If your breath has an unusual or fruity odor that does not go away, accompanied by some of the other symptoms we mention here it may also be a warning sign of diabetes, due to the high level of ketone which the body produces when it does not have enough insulin to transform glucose into energy.
- Nausea: While nausea can result from different health problems such as anxiety, allergies, or infections, it can also be indicative of diabetes. If you suffer from diabetes, you may experience nausea followed by vomiting, in addition to diabetes’ other symptoms.
- Fungal Infections: Diabetes can also be the culprit of fungal infections like yeast which affects the skin, including both men and women’s genitalia. When blood sugar spikes to a very high level, it can result in the overgrowth of yeast like Candida albicans, a prevalent fungal species that cause rashes and itchiness.
- Slow Healing: If minor wounds or skin cuts are taking too long to heal, it might be a sign of undiagnosed diabetes. The body finds it hard to heal because diabetes interferes with the proper function of the immune system.
One of the benefits of early diagnosis is keeping diabetes under control and avoiding its complications, which include nerve and kidney damage, hearing and visual impairment, and depression.