Do you know the symptoms to look out for when it comes to diabetes? You might be perfectly healthy, exercise daily, never touch sugar and still develop the disease. Type I diabetes is hereditary and has nothing to do with your sugar intake or weight, so you might have it and not even know. It’s important to know what to look for in your own health and recognize early warning signs that you can flag to your doctor. Diabetes can be dangerous if left untreated, but is definitely manageable once you know what you’re dealing with.
So what are you dealing with?
Type I Diabetes
Type I typically develops in childhood or adolescence, but can start in adulthood too. It accounts for about five to ten per cent of total diabetics. This is when the immune system mistakenly attacks and kills the beta cells in the pancreas which are responsible for releasing insulin. Sugar then builds up in the blood instead of being metabolized as energy.
With type I, the only course of treatment is insulin.
Type II Diabetes
The majority of diabetics are type II and develop the disease in adulthood. It occurs when the body cannot properly use the insulin it releases or it can’t produce enough to metabolize all the glucose in the bloodstream.
Type II is managed with diet and exercise, but may require medication also.
Symptoms to look out for
Thirty per cent of the population are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. That means that we need to keep an eye out for these symptoms and address them with a doctor if you notice them persisting.
- Unusual thirst and frequent urination
- Rapid and unexplained weight gain or loss
- Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
- Blurred vision
- Frequent or recurring infections
- Cuts and bruises slow to heal
- Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
Symptoms like tingling or numbness and frequent infections are the most telling for diabetes. Talk to your doctor if you have concerns. If you’re over 40 you should be tested for diabetes with a blood test every three years.