January means starting fresh with New Year’s Resolutions and a renewed focus on our health. Whether you are trying to eat healthier or exercise more frequently, it is important to be aware of your body and any warning signs that something could be wrong with your overall well-being.
Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes both produce seemingly innocuous symptoms that can go unnoticed for a long time if you are not paying attention. Type 1 diabetes is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells and the pancreas stops producing insulin. Insulin gathers energy from the food you eat and regulates the levels of sugar in your blood. Type 2 diabetes is a disease where the body still does produce insulin, but doesn’t use it correctly. Unable to produce the right amount of energy, your pancreas produces extra insulin but eventually cannot sustain it.
Although the symptoms can sometimes be hard to detect, you can stop these diseases from causing cardiovascular and neurological damage if you watch for early warning signs and ask your doctor for advice.
Early warning signs of diabetes can include:
- Frequent Urination – If you notice that your bathroom trips are becoming more frequent, it could be that your kidneys are working double-time to sift through and absorb extra sugar in your bloodstream.
- Weight Loss or Weight Gain – If your body is not getting enough energy and sugar into its cells, it goes into starvation mode and begins to use the proteins in your muscles as an energy source. This can cause extreme and unhealthy weight loss. Conversely, if you eat more foods that are high in sugar to compensate, this can result in rapid weight gain.
- Headaches/Vision Problems – Your headache could be the result of dehydration from frequent urination and means you should drink more fluids. However, high blood sugar can also be damaging to your eyes, causing squinting and headaches. Increased amounts of glucose actually change the shape of your lens, making your vision blurry and distorted with floaters and flashes of light.In the beginning, these changes and irregularities can be reversed, but if these symptoms are left untreated for too long, they can lead to permanent damage and even blindness.
- Fatigue – If you are regularly feeling weak and exhausted, it could be that your body is working too hard to make up for the lack of energy and sugar in your cells. A dip in energy levels and an under-the-weather malaise are common early warning signs of insulin irregularity.
- Slow-Healing Cuts, Bruises, or Infections – Increased blood sugar can affect blood flow and can damage your blood vessels. As a result, veins and arteries cannot compensate for the blood they are supposed to carry and they cannot transport white blood cells to the areas of your body that need healing.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, see your doctor so that you can be diagnosed and treated accordingly. Make sure that 2018 is a good year for your health by catching the early signs of diabetes before they do lasting damage.