Don't Let Diabetes Sneak Up on You: Learn These 7 Early Signs

Don't Let Diabetes Sneak Up on You: Learn These 7 Early Signs

Everything from your bank accounts to the engine in your car comes with a warning system. At a moment’s notice, you can assess and address a problem before it becomes a nightmare. 

Though your body doesn’t come with a warning light, it does have a way to alert you when something’s wrong — but you have to pay close attention. 

At MD², we want to make sure that all our patients are tuned in to their bodies and able to identify the warnings. Here, Dr. Megan Dillman, our expert internal medicine and pediatric physician, shares seven of the earliest indicators of diabetes.

An overview of diabetes

Diabetes refers to a chronic condition that impacts the way your body uses glucose (sugar) for energy. Normally, your pancreas releases a hormone called insulin to help your cells absorb glucose. 

When you have diabetes, however, your pancreas either doesn’t produce enough insulin or your body doesn’t process it efficiently. This causes your blood to become saturated in sugar, which can lead to a variety of serious complications. 

There are three main types of diabetes, each with its unique set of symptoms, risk factors, and challenges. However, the following warning signs are common to each type: 

#1 You’re going to the bathroom more than usual

As your blood sugar levels spike, your kidneys work extra hard to get rid of the excess sugar in your system. They do that by filtering it out of your blood and expelling it through urine. This can cause you to make more frequent trips to the bathroom. 

#2 You’re more thirsty

Because you’re going to the bathroom more, your body loses additional water. As a result, you might start to feel dehydrated, which causes you to reach for your water bottle more often. 

#3 You’re appetite has changed

In a healthy digestive system, your body breaks down the food you eat into glucose, a simple sugar that your body uses for energy in a process called metabolism. 

If you have diabetes, that system fails and not enough glucose makes its way into your bloodstream and your body’s cells. This results in more frequent pangs of hunger — no matter how recently you’ve eaten. 

#4 You feel run down 

Feeling worn out from time to time is completely normal. Daily stress and the occasional lack of sleep can put you under a fog for a day or two. But when you notice that sleepiness becomes persistent, it’s time to investigate underlying health conditions. 

Because diabetes attacks your metabolism, your body doesn’t have as much glucose to create energy. As a result, most people who have diabetes often report tiredness and fatigue as one of their first symptoms. 

#5 You’re experiencing vision changes

Has your vision gone blurry? It might not be your prescription. An overabundance of sugar in your blood damages the blood vessels in your eyes, which can lead to blurry vision. You may notice that it affects one or both of your eyes. 

It’s important that you get medical attention right away if you notice blurry vision. Without prompt treatment, the damage to your blood vessels can become severe or even permanent. 

#6 You’re not healing quickly

Any time you get a cut or scrape, your body immediately kicks into healing mode. To do its job effectively, your body relies on efficient blood circulation to transport healing factors to the site of the injury.

But when you have diabetes, your blood vessels are weakened and/or damaged, which impairs circulation. You may notice that even the smallest scrape takes weeks or months to fully heal. 

#7 You have tingling, numbness, or pain in your hands or feet

When diabetes sets in, no part of your health is safe, including your nerves. This often leads to pain or sensations of tingling and numbness in your hands and/or feet. We call this condition peripheral neuropathy. Without treatment, the nerve damage can worsen and lead to serious complications, such as undetected injuries and infections. 

How we treat diabetes

We base your diabetes treatment on your symptoms, as well as your medical history and your health goals. Often, medication and insulin injections are effective treatments for diabetes, but we also recommend other treatments and therapies, including:

If diabetes has attacked your nerves, and you’ve developed peripheral neuropathy, we may recommend that you make modifications to your footwear and conduct regular self-checks on your feet. 

Whether you suspect you have diabetes or you simply want more information, we’d love to talk with you. Call or click to request an appointment at our Lakeville, Minnesota, office today. 

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