Diabetes is not only a deadly disease, it is also epidemic in the USA. Doctors estimate that there are millions of undiagnosed cases of type one, and type two diabetes nationwide. Many people are completely unaware of the common symptoms associated with the onset of this terrible disease. This article will outline the common symptoms associated with both forms of Diabetes, and provides links to resources for Diabetes information, and management.
Diabetes is one of the fastest growing health epidemics in the United States. Already affecting nearly a quarter of the US population, combined with what doctors estimate to be a large percentage of undiagnosed cases, Diabetes, is a health issue we can no longer afford to ignore.
While many people have heard of Diabetes, many still do not know exactly what it is. There are actually two types of Diabetes, Diabetes1, in which the body simply does not produce enough insulin; and Diabetes 2, when the body not only does not make enough insulin, but also, the cells in the body do not react to the insulin produced. Insulin, is a key chemical produced by your body, that helps eliminate glucose, or sugar, in the blood. In a normal person, the body reacts to the ingestion of carbohydrates and sugars by releasing insulin to chase the sugar and process it normally. In a diabetic person, the sugars bind to proteins, and the insulin is not capable of maintaining control of the glucose.
Roughly ninety percent of all cases in the United States are type 2 Diabetes. While this particular form of Diabetes can often be controlled with diet and exercise, it is a chronic disease, and tends to become gradually worse as the person ages. Even if diet and exercise control the symptoms at their onset, the patient will eventually end up taking one of the many medications commonly used in treatment. The following are some contributing factors in Diabetes 1 and 2.
- Obesity: Obesity is a major factor in Diabetes. If you are more than twenty pounds over-weight, you are potentially at risk.
- Genetics: If a member of your family, even a distant member, has, or had Diabetes, you are at risk.
- Diet: If you have a diet heavy in carbohydrates and sugar, this puts you at risk for contracting Diabetes.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy can put you at risk for "Gestational Diabetes." This form of diabetes can be dangerous for mother and child. Most cases of gestational diabetes reverse after pregnancy.
Understanding the lifestyles and behaviors that can contribute to risk is highly important, but equally important is the ability to recognize the common symptoms that often preclude the onset of Diabetes. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to contact your medical professional immediately.
Frequent Urination: If you notice a vast increase in the frequency of urination, you may be experiencing the inital symptoms of Diabetes. When your body is incapable of monitoring glucose, your kidneys are incapable of filtering the excess and therefore disposes of excess glucose in urine. This increase in glucose via urination, can often give urine a fruity, or sweet smell.
Increase in Thirst: Thirst and dry mouth are a common symptom of Diabetes. This is a direct result of the frequent urination. Because your body is expelling more liquids, you will have to drink more liquids to avoid dehydration.
Intense Hunger: Because your body may not be able to feed your muscle with adequate glucose, your body will turn to burning fat, and muscle for energy. This factor will often cause an increase in appetite, as your body will need to find more calories to burn for energy.
Weight Gain: This is a result of the increased appetite.
Weight Loss: This is often a factor in people who ignore the initial symptoms, and is the result of the body's need to burn muscle and fat for energy.
Fatigue: Because your body is working harder to burn calories for energy, and because glucose is not being processed correctly, your body will experience periods of extreme fatigue. Many diabetics report fatigue to the point where they fall asleep standing up.
Blurred Vision: Diabetes has an effect on your eye tissue. This can be long lasting, or short term depending on treatment.
Tingling in Feet and Hands: Too much sugar in the blood has a damaging effect on the nerves in your body. This damage causes tingling and numbness referred to as "Diabetic Nerve Pain."
If you or a loved one are experiencing one, or more of these symptoms, it is important to seek out professional medical care immediately. Diabetes is not only a chronic disease, it also has the potential to be a fatal disease. Left uncontrolled, Diabetes, can cause seizures, kidney failure, heart disease and ultimately death. For more information on Diabetes and its treatments, refer to the links below.
American Diabetes Association
Diabetes News and Information
Mayo Clinic Diabetic Info