According to the American Medical Association, 34 million adults in the US have diabetes, and type 2 diabetes—which is directly attributable to unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices—comprises more than 90% of those cases. Experts say that’s a public health crisis in the making: Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, blindness, even amputation. But Type 2 diabetes is treatable. If you have it, making healthier choices and following your doctor’s advice for treatment can manage or even reverse the condition. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
A common early symptom of diabetes is having to urinate more often than usual. You might even have to get up in the middle of the night more often to go. The reason: Diabetes causes blood sugar to rise to an excessive level, and the body tries to flush out the excess by increasing urine production.
The same process that causes frequent urination can cause you to feel constantly thirsty. As excess blood sugar leaves the body, it pulls water from the body’s surrounding tissues along with it, making you feel dehydrated. You may find yourself drinking more water but less able to satisfy your thirst. If that happens, talk with your doctor.
If you have very dry or itchy skin, wounds that are slow to heal or won’t heal, or have more infected wounds than usual, it could be a sign of diabetes. Dehydration can cause skin to dry out or itch. Blood vessels damaged by the disease can impair circulation, delaying wound healing, particularly on the feet, says the American Academy of Dermatology.
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Diabetes increases the level of sugar in the bloodstream but actually prevents cells from using that glucose for energy. As muscles are deprived of energy, you might feel constantly tired or hungry. Your body may start to burn fat stores for energy, causing you to lose weight without trying.
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High blood sugar can damage nerves throughout the body, a condition called diabetic neuropathy. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which affects the feet, legs, hands and arms. The symptoms—which can include tingling, burning, numbness, decreased sensitivity to pain, or cramps—tend to get worse at night.
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Blurry or double vision can indicate a condition called diabetic retinopathy. High blood sugar can distort the lenses in your eyes, causing vision to become blurry. Diabetes can also cause blood vessels in the retina to leak, or abnormal new blood vessels to grow, leading to vision problems.
And to ensure your health don’t miss these 101 Health Habits You Didn’t Know Were Deadly.