Nearly 40 million Americans have diabetes, including almost 9 million undiagnosed men and women who aren’t aware they have the disease. Without proper management, diabetes can lead to a host of serious complications, including kidney failure, vision loss, nerve damage, and cardiovascular disease.
Providing state-of-the-art care to patients in Sugar Land and Houston, Texas, our team at Core Primary Care understands the importance of diagnosing diabetes early, before complications have a chance to occur.
In this post, we review six early warning signs that could mean it’s time to be screened for diabetes.
Normally, glucose serves as a food or energy source for your cells and tissues. When you have diabetes, you don’t access, convert, or use glucose normally, and that means your cells can’t get the energy they need to for normal function.
As a result, people with diabetes are frequently left with feelings of hunger, even if they’ve recently eaten a large meal.
Typically, your kidneys filter excess glucose out of your blood. When glucose levels rise as a result of diabetes, your kidneys may not be able to keep up, which means more glucose is excreted into your urine.
Glucose is a solute, which means when it’s excreted into your urine, it brings more water along with it. As a result, you produce more urine and need to urinate more frequently — even during the night when you should be sleeping.
This effect also causes dehydration, which explains why many people with diabetes are frequently thirsty.
Diabetes-related fatigue can happen for a couple of reasons. First, since your body can’t use glucose efficiently, your cells get less energy, leaving you feeling tired. And second, frequent urination or diabetic neuropathy may make it harder to get a good night’s sleep.
In people who’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, managing their disease and dealing with symptoms can lead to depression, another potential cause of fatigue.
When your glucose level is high, that excess sugar in your blood can damage the tiny blood vessels that provide your eyes with oxygen and nutrients. Diabetes can also damage your corneas, the clear covering of your eyes.
In both cases, without treatment, you can wind up with blurry vision and, eventually, permanent vision loss.
In addition to damaging your eyes, high blood sugar levels can also take a toll on your nerves, especially the smaller nerves in your feet and hands. This is a condition called diabetic neuropathy, and it causes symptoms like tingling, pain, numbness, and pins-and-needles sensations.
Without a good diabetes management plan, this early diabetes symptom can lead to permanent numbness and even an increased risk of limb amputation.
The glucose-insulin link is what helps provide your body’s cells with the energy they need for normal function. When you have diabetes, this link is broken, and that can have a big effect on your metabolism. As a result, your body starts burning fat and muscle tissue for energy.
Incidentally, weight loss tends to be more common among people with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that destroys the pancreas cells that produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes is more often associated with people who have gained a lot of weight, including people who are obese.
Diabetes can cause a lot of symptoms and many serious complications. The good news: We can diagnose it with a simple medical test and help you manage your condition with medication and lifestyle changes.
If you have any early symptoms of diabetes, don’t put off your screenings. Call 713-636-2621 or book an appointment online with our team at Core Primary Care today.