You'll never see it coming. And when you do, it's often too late.
Diabetes is one of those silent killers. It's a disease that creeps up on you and turns your entire life upside down in the blink of an eye. It's commonly misdiagnosed and by the time it is diagnosed for what it is, the damage has been done. If caught too late, diabetes can kill you or someone you love.
Know the signs. Learn them so you can recognize symptoms when you see them, because a doctor might not catch it in time.
If your mouth is always dry and you're drinking a ton of water, but can't seem to get any relief, it's a sure sign of diabetes. More than that, if you're eating and eating, but are always hungry (and not gaining weight), take notice. With diabetes, the body is hungrier because your insulin levels are unbalanced - insulin helps bring glucose from food into the cells and convert them to energy,according to WebMd.
You're thirstier because diabetes raises blood sugar levels and prevents your kidneys from taking in glucose, which tells your body to make more urine (which takes fluid).
These unbalanced levels makes you hungrier and thirstier and yet, no matter how much you eat or drink, it makes little to no difference.
2. Frequent urination
Because your body is lacking insulin, the body seeks out other ways to break down the sugar. So it uses the fluids from cells in the bloodstream and sends them to the kidneys, making them overwork and forcing you to urinate more and more. If you're taking far more bathroom breaks than usual, go to the doctor and test your blood sugar.
3. Major weight loss
A common sign of diabetes, especially in Type 1, is extreme weight loss. When the pancreas stops working completely, the body finds other ways to break down the blood glucose. One of those ways is breaking down the fat in your body, causing you to lose a lot of weight (as outlined by Medical News Today).
4. Numbness in feet and legs
The higher your blood sugar gets, the greater effects it has on your organs. It can cause nerve damage to your system, thus resulting in numbness in your feet and your legs. If you're finding that you can't feel your toes, feet or legs, it's high time to visit a doctor.
Most importantly, ask for a blood test. If the doctor doesn't do a blood test, the symptoms can be easily mistaken for something else, causing a misdiagnosis and you won't get the proper treatment you need.
Without insulin, your body sucks the fat away, which causes an increase in ketones in your body. Having a high number of ketones can make you sick to your stomach, causing nausea and sometimes vomiting. If ketones get to an extreme level, you can go into diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA. DKA is a coma in which your body's organs begin to fail and shut down. Without immediate treatment and insulin, you can get brain damage or worse, die.
Many young children have passed away after misdiagnosis and gone into DKA and never made it out. Those who did, were never the same again.
Recognize the signs, and always ask for a blood test when you visit the doctor. Taking a simple blood test and knowing the signs of diabetes can save your life, or make you somebody's hero.
Callie has two Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and Communication and when she isn’t writing, she’s reading. Some of her favorite things include Harry Potter, all things Disney, road trips, and telling stories.