This week we will be focusing on type 2 diabetes as it is the most common form and affects more than 24 million people in the US
Diabetes is often called – the silent killer. According to the ADA, half of Americans age 65 and older have prediabetes, which means nearly 25 million seniors are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
That’s an astonishing number, given that another 25 percent of the elderly population already has diabetes. One problem with prediabetes, however, is that there are generally no symptoms. If you have symptoms related to diabetes, you may already have them.
Symptoms can build up over time and can be attributed to other diseases. At the time of diagnosis, the disease could have reached dangerous levels. This includes organ damage and blindness. Early treatment can prevent or minimize the damage.
Here are some of the most common symptoms. This is not intended to alarm you, but to make you alert.
Recurring infections. You become immunosuppressed; Your body will have trouble fighting off infections and is prone to a variety of bacterial infections – such as yeast (or candida) infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infections (urinary tract infections), and skin rashes.
Increased urination. People with type 2 diabetes have overactive kidneys working to clear excess glucose in the blood. The fastest way to remove something from your body is to urinate. Keep in mind that this increased urine output not only keeps you up at night, but it can also lead to dehydration.
Increased appetite. A starved appetite occurs when blood sugar levels drop dangerously and the body needs glucose to function. Often times, hunger pangs wake you up at night and keep you awake until you eat something.
Unquenchable thirst. Excessive thirst is common with type 2 diabetes, which indicates that your body is trying to replenish fluid levels that have been lost through frequent urination and sometimes sweat.
Exhaustion. General ailments and the dehydrating effects that excessive glucose removal has on the body steal you energy and much-needed rest.
Sudden inexplicable weight loss. The onset of diabetes can lead to sudden and inexplicable weight loss of 10 to 20 pounds in a matter of weeks or months. This weight loss is due to a lack of calories from insulin excretion (through increased urination) and a lack of insulin hormone, which provides vital energy.
Mood swings. When blood sugar is high, moods can be dizzy and downright silly, but when blood sugar drops, moods can become irritable and downright angry until the stores of energy are replenished with food.
Slow to heal. Due to blood vessel damage caused by increased glucose in the veins, restricted blood flow is often observed in type 2 diabetes patients. This often results in a reduction in the time it takes for surface abrasions, bruises, cuts, rashes, and infections to heal.
Numb fingers and toes. Chills, inflammation, tingling, and prickly numbness in the fingers and toes are other symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes. This discomfort occurs when excess glucose in the body causes neuropathy (or nerve damage).
Vision problems. The vision of the eye is closely related to blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels drop, a person with type 2 diabetes can experience impaired vision, swimming, and even sensitivity to light. Fortunately, once blood sugar stabilizes, eyesight will return to normal. However, if blood sugar is unbalanced for too long, it can permanently affect eyesight.
If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor. They will likely want to do an A1C blood test and provide you with a glucometer that you can use to test your blood over a few weeks to get an overview of your high and low sugar levels.
Diabetes not only goes away on its own, but can also be treated and often reversed with proper diet, exercise, and medication if necessary.
Jody Holton writes about health for Port Arthur Newsmedia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.