Do you have undiagnosed diabetes? The American Diabetes Association reported 29.1 million Americans had diabetes, with 8.1 million being undiagnosed in 2012. Additionally, 1.4 million Americans are newly diagnosed each year.
In recognition of National Diabetes Awareness Month, we want you to monitor for these 10 subtle signs of diabetes. If you have questions or concerns about diabetes, talk with your doctor and ask about getting your blood glucose checked.
- Frequent urination: Your kidneys are working overtime to flush out excess sugar in the blood. Extra sugar not absorbed by the kidneys are filtered out through urine. High sugar equals more bathroom breaks.
- How do you know? People urinate 4-7 times in a day; are you making more trips to the bathroom?
- RED FLAG: Waking at night to use the bathroom.
Excessive thirst: With frequent urination comes replacing the fluid lost. Your body feels parched and dried out!
- How do you know? 4 or more liters, over a gallon per day, is excessive. The average person needs approximately 2 liters a day.
- RED FLAG: Feeling thirsty just after drinking water.
- Extreme hunger: When blood sugar isn’t properly regulated it leads to fluctuations throughout the day. Low levels tell the brain to eat more calories and sugary food.
- How do you know? You find yourself eating more times a day than usual.
- RED FLAG: Extreme hunger even after a meal.
- Weakness/fatigue: Sugar is unable to get into your cells to energize them. The kidneys are also working overtime with sugar highs and lows. Add in interrupted sleep from night time urination and you are exhausted!
- How do you know? Your body and mind feel an ongoing exhaustion, lethargy or weakness.
- RED FLAG: You find yourself too weak to do everyday activities you were able to do with ease before.
- Pins and Needles: Extra sugar in the blood is damaging the nerve and nerve-endings. Due to poor circulation, the nerves located farthest from the heart, typically the hands and feet, have difficulty being repaired.
- How do you know? Feeling numbness or tingling in the hands and feet.
- RED FLAG: The tingling or numbness feels like burning upon waking up.
- Blurry vision: The sugar lingering in the blood takes fluid from the cells and tissue of the eyes. This leads to swelling, making focusing difficult for your eyes.
- How do you know? Road signs, menus, books or computer screens are not as clear.
- RED FLAG: Floaters in the field of vision.
Itchy skin: Poor circulation paired with the extensive loss of fluids causes the skin to dry out. Dry skin leads to itchy skin.
- How do you know? You notice yourself itching more than usual, coupled with noticeable dry skin.
- RED FLAG: Constant need for lotion and cracking skin.
- Slow healing wounds: Again, lingering sugar in the blood wreaks havoc on veins and arteries disrupting circulation. Without proper blood flow, cuts and bruises heal more slowly.
- How do you know? Paper cuts, bumps and bruises are taking more than a few days to go away.
- RED FLAG: Cuts that scab over again and again or wounds lasting weeks to months.
- Moody: Riding the roller-coaster of unstable blood sugar may cause a short-temper. High blood sugar may even disguise as depression symptoms.
- How do I know? You are noticeably more grumpy or irritable. Family or friends may comment on your unusual demeanor.
- RED FLAG: Depression-mimicking symptoms such as low energy drive and feelings of staying in bed.
- UTIs & yeast infections: High sugar levels within the urine are a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast near the genitalia.
- How do I know? Urinary tract infections come with a burning sensation during urination and cloudy, dark, or off-smelling urine. Yeast infections come with itching, burning and discharge.
- RED FLAG: Regularly occurring UTIs or yeast infections. Diabetics are 2 times as likely to suffer from these.
Only your healthcare provider can diagnose diabetes. Once diagnosed, our REX Diabetes Education Center can help you manage your diabetes through individual and group support. To learn if you are at risk for diabetes, take our free online health assessment today.