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Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

How do you know if you have diabetes? It’s important to be aware of the early symptoms before it gets too late. Most early symptoms include glucose levels that are higher than normal in your blood.

Type 2 Diabetes have such mild warning signs that you might not notice them - some people only find out they have it when they get problems from long-term effect of the disease.

 

However with Type 1 Diabetes, the symptoms happen more quickly - in a matter of a few days or weeks. Though they are more severe.

 

Both diabetes types similar warning signs:

  • Hunger and fatigue: Your body converts food you consume into glucose that your body cells use for energy - but your cells need insulin to draw in the glucose. when your body doesn’t make enough insulin, or your cells resist the insulin your body makes then the glucose cannot enter and you won’t have energy - this makes you more hungry and tired
  • Frequent peeing and becoming thirstier: The average person pees between four and seven times in 24 hours, but those with diabetes would frequent the bathroom more.
  • Dry mouth and itchy skin: Because your body is using fluids to make you pee, there’s less moisture in your body. You could feel dehydrated and your mouth dry.
  • Blurred vision: The changing levels of fluids in your body could make the lenses in your eyes swell, causing them to change shape and lose ability to focus.

Other type 2 symptoms

  • Yeast infections: Yeast feeds on glucose and with the excess glucose in your system, it makes it thrive. Common areas that are affected are between fingers, toes, under breasts, and in or around sex organs
  • Slow healing sores or cuts: The high levels of sugar in your blood can affect your blood flow over time and cause nerve damage, eventually making it hard for your body to heal wounds
  • Pain or numbness in your feet or legs: Another result of nerve damage

Other type 1 symptoms

  • Unplanned weight loss: Usually when your body can’t get energy from food, it will start burning fat or muscle
  • Nausea and vomiting: When your body resorts to burning fat, it makes “ketones” which can build up in your blood to dangerous levels and resulting in a possibly life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis

 

How To Manage Diabetes

Managing diabetes isn’t that difficult - you just need to know what makes the glucose levels in your blood rise and fall and how to control it. Many things can cause your blood sugar levels to change. Below are some factors that can affect it

 

Food

With diabetes, you need to know how different foods affect your blood sugar levels. The type of food you eat, how much you eat and the combinations of food you consume all contribute to your blood sugar levels.

What to do:

  • Learn carbohydrate counting and portion sizes
  • Have well-balanced meals
  • Coordinate your meals and medications
  • Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages

 

 

 

Exercise

Physical activity is an important part of managing diabetes. When you exercise, your muscles use glucose of energy, futhermore regular physical activity helps your body use insulin more efficiently.

What to do:

  • Consult your doctor about an exercise plan
  • Keep an exercise schedule
  • Keep track of your blood sugar levels
  • Stay hydrated

 

Medication

Insulin and other diabetes medications such as Metformin, Sulfonylureas or DPP-4 inhibitors (please refer to line below in red) are designed to lower your blood sugar levels when both your diet and exercise isn’t sufficient for diabetes management.

What to do:

  • Store insulin properly
  • Report problems to your doctor
  • Be cautious with new medications
  • Or you may try herbal supplement such as Himalaya Diagard or Himalaya Karela (extract from bitter melon)

 

Illness

When you fall ill, your body produces stress-related hormones to fight off the illness but your blood sugar levels can also rise.

What to do:

  • Plan ahead and consult your doctor for a sick-day plan
  • Continue taking your diabetes medications
  • Stick to your meal plan

 

When To Seek Professional Help

If you’re above the age of 45 years or have other risks of diabetes it’s important to get tested annually. When you spot the condition early, you’ll be able to avoid the nerve damage, heart trouble and other complications that come with long term diabetes.

 

As a rule, see a doctor if you:

  • feel sick to the stomach, weak and extra thirsty
  • pee a lot
  • have a bad stomach ache
  • breathe more deeply and faster than usual
  • have sweet breath that smells like nail polish remover (this is a sign of high levels of ketone in your blood)

 

 

Examples of possible treatments for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, others): Usually the first treatment to be prescribed for Diabetes Type 2, it helps increase the sensitivity of the body tissues towards insulin for it to be absorbed more effectively.
  • Sulfonylureas: Helps your body produce more insulin.
  • Meglitinides: Like Sulfonylureas, this kind of medication helps with insulin production from the pancreas. They react faster but the duration of the effect is shorter in the body.
  • Thiazolidinediones: Like metformin, the body's tissues are more sensitive to insulin after taking this medicine. However these medications aren't generally a first-choice due to side effects like weight gain, an increased risk of heart failure and fractures.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors: Helps reduce blood sugar levels.
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists: Helps slow digestion and lowers blood sugar levels.
  • SGLT2 inhibitors: A newer diabetes drug on the market that's prevents the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood. Sugar is instead excreted through urine.
  • Insulin therapy: Depending on your specific diabetic needs, your doctor may prescribe you to a mixture of insulin types to use throughout the day. The many types of insulin include:
    • Insulin glulisine (Apidra)
    • Insulin lispro (Humalog)
    • Insulin aspart (Novolog)
    • Insulin glargine (Lantus)
    • Insulin detemir (Levemir)
    • Insulin isophane (Humulin N, Novolin N)

 

Sources: [1][2][3]


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