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How do I know if I have diabetes?

16 Feb 2024

Let’s talk about diabetes symptoms, prevention, and more

“The groundwork of all happiness is health.”

 – Leigh Hunt

If your body’s groundwork isn’t strong, you will tend to feel weak. With time, it may get worse. Lucky for us, our bodies don’t straightaway jump into an illness. They start by talking to you through Symptoms. A way for them to say, “Hey buddy, there’s something wrong in here, and I need your help.”

Prevention is always the best route, but when you happen to miss that, look out for your second shot – recognising the symptoms. Some common diabetes symptoms are easy to see, while others may go unnoticed. Few symptoms of diabetes differ from person to person, and some people tend to show no symptoms at all. Some common diabetes symptoms have a gradual increase, and that’s what we will talk about today.

What is diabetes?

When the body cannot manage the blood glucose levels well, it leads to a condition called diabetes. It all boils down to the hormone that helps the cells absorb sugar – insulin. This hormone helps in the absorption of sugar into the cells, which is converted into energy. When the body is unable to absorb sugar properly, it may lead to diabetes. In people with diabetes, the body either produces insufficient insulin or is unable to efficiently utilize the one it generates. The former is called Type 1 diabetes and the latter is Type 2 diabetes.

Let’s talk symptoms

The symptoms depend on your glucose levels. Some people, especially those with Type 2 diabetes or Prediabetes, may not experience any symptoms. In the case of type 1 diabetes, however, symptoms show up early, while those of Type 2 diabetes develop slowly.

Here are some common diabetes symptoms:

  • Increased hunger
  • Feeling more thirsty than usual or dry mouth
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Feeling extreme fatigue
  • Wounds heal slowly (sores, cuts, and bruises)
  • Feeling irritable or having mood changes
  • Frequent skin and/or vaginal yeast infections
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet

Type 1 diabetes symptoms

The onset of Type 1 diabetes symptoms is very early and can occur within a few weeks as the body won’t be producing enough insulin.

Because the symptoms occur rapidly, they tend to be more serious and easily noticed. For instance, going through abnormal weight loss in a short span. This quick nature of Type 1 diabetes can take an individual’s sugar levels very high before they get diagnosed and treated. Such cases may lead to ketoacidosis, which is a medical emergency.

Type 2 diabetes symptoms

Type 2 diabetes symptoms are slower to develop because of Insulin Resistance or insufficient insulin production. Many can have this type of diabetes without any noticeable symptoms. When the symptoms show up, they can seem minor, dismissible, or mistaken for something else.

When living with Type 2 diabetes, the increasing glucose in the blood may cause:

  • Numb limbs
  • Pain in the limbs
  • Open sores on feet
  • Changes in skin
  • Vision loss

Can diabetes be prevented?

Yes and No. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented, but with the help of a balanced diet plan, some medication, and a good lifestyle, the risks can definitely be lowered.

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Although the genetic factor in Type 2 diabetes can’t be avoided, a good diet and lifestyle can prevent the onset of Type 2 diabetes altogether.

Here are some steps to start with:

  • Workout for at least 30 mins daily
  • Set weight goals as per your body
  • Reduce alcohol consumption
  • Stop smoking
  • Try not to take a lot of stress
  • Get at least 7-9 hours of sleep daily
  • Take medications as prescribed by the doctor

When should you take a trip to the doctor?

  • If you’ve not been diagnosed yet Consider seeing a healthcare provider right away, especially if you see any common diabetes symptoms like feeling thirsty more often or frequently urinating. The earlier the diagnosis, the sooner the treatment starts, and the better the life one gets to live.
  • If you have been diagnosed Ensure that you get regularly checked by your doctor so they can help you manage the condition. This could go on until the glucose levels normalize.

In the words of Leigh Hunt, “maintaining good health is the cornerstone of a happy life.” When it comes to diabetes, it is important to listen to the body and recognise the symptoms early. Though exercising prevention should go without saying, understanding the bodily hints and getting timely medical help is also critical. Be it the rapid Type 1 diabetes symptoms or gradual Type 2 diabetes symptoms, being proactive in managing one’s health is key.

Some lifestyle adjustments here and there, some fixing of food habits, and doctor appointments will help in preventing or managing diabetes. Just treat your health as your greatest asset and you will reap the returns.