More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and almost a quarter of them don’t even know they have the disease. That means they’re at risk for serious complications that can result when diabetes treatment is delayed.
Here are three early symptoms of diabetes we want our patients to know about, along with some simple tips to keep blood sugar (glucose) under control.
Recognizing the signs of diabetes isn’t always easy, especially in the beginning stages of the disease. But learning what symptoms to look for can help you get treatment early.
Diabetes happens when your body doesn’t produce enough (or any) of a hormone called insulin or doesn’t use insulin efficiently. Normally, insulin helps glucose enter your cells, where it provides energy for your tissues and organs.
When you don’t have enough insulin or your body doesn’t use insulin properly, glucose doesn’t get absorbed, which means more blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. High glucose levels are a hallmark of diabetes.
When you’re not absorbing enough glucose, your organs, muscles, and other tissues can’t work as intended. As a result, you can wind up feeling perpetually hungry and tired.
Your kidneys filter your blood, removing waste through your urine while returning some substances — like glucose — to your blood. When your glucose is elevated, your kidneys need to filter the excess out, which means they need to make more urine.
In addition to causing more frequent trips to the bathroom, the increased urge to urinate makes you thirstier too. Drinking more water also increases the need to urinate.
Excess glucose and frequent urination lead to dry skin, which means itchier skin too. At the same time, diabetes can damage tiny nerve fibers, leading to itching and “prickling” sensations.
If you don’t have diabetes, these three simple tips can help you keep the disease at bay.
Maintaining a regular meal schedule helps your body process sugars and other nutrients more efficiently, so your insulin-producing cells aren’t overwhelmed. Not skipping meals is important too.
Keep sweets to a minimum and watch out for natural sugars too. Limiting foods high in salt (sodium) and unhealthy saturated fats helps your body stay healthy and use glucose efficiently.
Your body is 60% water overall, with some organs — like the kidneys, heart, and brain — containing much more. When you’re thirsty, choose water instead of drinks with caffeine or sugar (even natural sugars) to give your body what it needs without extras that it doesn’t need.
The early signs of diabetes can be subtle. The good news is glucose levels can be measured with a simple blood test.
Having regular physical exams helps us identify diabetes early, allowing you to start treatment right away. Delaying care can lead to serious consequences, including vision loss, kidney failure, nerve damage, and lower limb amputation.
To learn more about diabetes treatment or to find out if you’re at risk, call 786-321-2399 or book an appointment online at I & B Medical Associates today.