The likelihood of developing a serious disease grows steadily as we age. In order to remain in good health, it is essential to be aware of any physical changes or any signs that may indicate a problem, and to report these changes to our healthcare providers as soon as possible.
In 2017, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that more than 30 million adults in the United States are currently living with diabetes. The many devastating effects of diabetes are well-known, in particular its connection with cardiovascular disease. Since the number one cause of death in the United States is heart disease, and diabetes greatly increases the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke, it is important to be able to recognize the symptoms of diabetes at the earliest possible stage.
The CDC also noted in their 2017 report that more than 84 million adults in the United States are living with a condition known as prediabetes. Individuals with prediabetes have elevated blood sugar levels, but are not yet considered to be diabetic. Prediabetics are likely to develop type 2 diabetes within five years unless they undertake proper treatment and appropriate changes in lifestyle.
There are several early signs of prediabetes. Recognizing them early can mean the difference between a healthy life and a life spent dealing with the consequences of diabetes.
Here are the 7 most common symptoms:
1. Frequent urination
When blood sugar levels are above normal, the kidneys try to remove excess sugar by filtering it out of the blood. This leads to frequent urination, especially at night.
2. Increased thirst
As mentioned above, frequent urination is the body’s way of removing excess sugar. The loss of fluid due to frequent urination causes dehydration. This, in turn, makes an individual feel more thirsty than usual.
3. Feeling hungry
As an individual begins to develop diabetes, the body’s ability to transmit glucose to the body’s cells becomes compromised. Since glucose is the body’s source of energy, a person with this problem will feel hungry throughout the day — even if they have recently eaten.
Since prediabetes compromises amount of glucose that reaches the cells, prediabetics are likely to feel a general lack of energy.
5. Blurry vision
Excess sugar in the bloodstream damages the blood vessels, in particular the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. This damage can cause individuals to experience blurry vision in one or both eyes. Uncontrolled diabetes is a leading cause of blindness, and the blurry vision associated with prediabetes is an important early warning signal that it is time to consult a doctor.
5. Slow healing of cuts, wounds, and bruises
The damage to an individual’s blood vessels and nerves caused by excess sugar in the bloodstream leads to impaired blood circulation. Poor circulation increases the healing time required for cuts, wounds, and bruises. It also increases the risk of infection.
7. Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
In addition to damaging blood vessels, high blood sugar levels also damage nerves. A common side effect of this damage is a sensation of numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, a condition known as neuropathy.
If we become aware of any of these symptoms, we should discuss them with our healthcare provider immediately. A simple blood test will determine if we are prediabetic. If we follow our doctor’s advice, taking the medications recommended and making appropriate lifestyle changes, it is likely that we will be able to avoid becoming diabetic.
Beacon of LIFE, in Oceanport, NJ, is a government-approved PACE program created to provide seniors, their family, caregivers and professional health care providers the flexibility to meet their health care needs while continuing to live in their community.
Beacon of LIFE maintains an interdisciplinary team of professionals who give each client the coordinated care they need. Our staff specialize in working with older people, and work with each client and their family to develop the most effective plan of care.
We provide a variety of services, including primary care, hospital care, medical specialty services, prescription drugs, nursing home care, emergency services, home care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, adult day care, recreational therapy, meals, dentistry, nutritional counseling, social services, laboratory / X-ray services, social work counseling, and transportation.
Our care and services allow people who would otherwise need to live in a nursing home to live where they want — in their own communities, in their own homes.