Diabetes is an increasingly common disease worldwide. According to a report released by the WHO (World Health Organization), in 2014 an estimated 9% of the world’s adult population suffered from diabetes.
As people become more sedentary and eat more processed foods high in fat and refined sugar, this number will only increase. The WHO estimates that by the year 2030, diabetes will rank as the seventh leading direct cause of death.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition that develops when the pancreas cannot produce enough of the hormone insulin, or the body does not use the insulin produced efficiently. This causes blood sugar levels to remain high, eventually causing damage to the body’s systems, but especially the blood vessels and nerves.
How do you know if you have a predisposition for diabetes? Here are a few factors that can put you at higher risk for developing this disease:
- Genetics – Your genetic makeup and a family history of diabetes can put you at greater risk for developing this disease.
- Obesity – When you’re carrying around extra fat mass, your body will more likely develop insulin resistance.
- Gestational Diabetes – If you had gestational diabetes, you’re at a higher risk for developing the disease outside of pregnancy.
- Sedentary Lifestyle – Do you exercise at least three times a week? If you’re not exercising regularly and have a sedentary job, you have a higher likelihood of developing this disease.
- Ethnic Background – it is found that those of African American, Hispanic/Latino American, Native American, Pacific Islanders, Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are at a much higher risk of diabetes.
The Signs and Symptoms of Pre-diabetes
The symptoms of pre-diabetes can be a bit elusive, often mimicking those of other diseases. Some people don’t even develop any diabetes symptoms at all. This is why it’s important to get a checkup with your doctor at least once a year.
Although not definitive, some of the most common signs and symptoms of pre-diabetes include:
- Increased Thirst – if you notice you are drinking more water or other beverages than usual and they’re not quenching your thirst, this can be a sign of pre or early-onset diabetes. Diabetes causes excess sugar to remain in your bloodstream. Your kidneys end up being overworked, trying to clear the excess sugars, and end up pulling fluid from cells to complete the excretion process. This makes you feel thirsty as your body tries to replenish the fluid your cells have lost. Should you have an unsubstantiated increase in your thirst and intake, this could be a sign that something is amiss.
- More Frequent Urination – whether you’ve increased your fluid intake or not, if you notice a rise in the frequency with which you have to urinate, this is a good indication that there is something going on with your body. If it is pre-diabetes, it could be that your kidneys are working overtime to clear excess sugar from your bloodstream, thus producing more waste.
- Excessive Hunger – when you feel like you can’t seem to get enough food, despite eating normal portions, your body may be trying to tell you something. With diabetes, glucose cannot enter the cells normally to be turned into energy. Because of this, your body may be misreading the signs and assuming you need to eat something to introduce sugar into your bloodstream, where it will then be carried into the cells for energy production.
- Sudden and/or Unexplained Weight Gain – no matter how much you exercise or cut back on your diet, you’re still gaining weight. Your body may be producing an excess amount of insulin in an attempt to regulate your blood sugar. This can cause your body to start storing fat. This is a common symptom of pre-diabetes, as well as hypothyroidism and other conditions.
- Slow-healing Wounds and Bruises – if you find your body is not healing the rate with which it normally does, or bruises and contusions linger for longer than usual, your body may be having a hard time healing itself due to its compromised ability to transport oxygen-rich blood to damaged vessels. Without a way for healing components to be carried to and toxins carried away from the wound site, healing can be greatly slowed. Your immune system may be somewhat compromised by diabetes, making it difficult for certain immune cells to develop and reach wound site properly. Nerve damage can also play a part in a wound’s difficulty to heal. When you cannot properly feel a blister, sore or cut, it can become substantially worse before you find it.
- Blurred Vision – with pre-diabetes, it is possible to start developing retinopathy. This can cause blurred or otherwise impaired vision. If you are noticing changes in your eyesight, it’s important to see your optometrist right away. He or she can help diagnose early-onset diabetes, or isolate other serious vision problems before they become too serious.
As with any suspected disease or condition, it is best to err on the side of caution and get checked out right away by a doctor if you have something unusual going on. Pre-diabetes can often be reversed, but only with careful management of diet and exercise. For more information on diabetes, visit http://www.diabetesmiracleguide.com/visit-website