Diabetes affects millions of people all over the world. It is a chronic disease that requires lifelong management and can lead to various health complications. From neuropathy to kidney damage, diabetes is life-altering. An essential aspect of chronic disease management is recognizing the signs and symptoms early, allowing you to intervene and minimize its impact on your life.
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic condition characterized by an increased level of glucose in the blood due to issues with insulin production and function. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is responsible for regulating blood glucose levels, allowing cells to utilize glucose for energy. In individuals with diabetes, this system is disrupted, which can lead to serious, long-term health problems.
Diabetes can take many different forms, but there are two main types:
- Type 1 is an autoimmune condition which prevents the body from producing insulin.
- Type 2 is when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t produce enough, which prevents it from keeping blood sugar at normal levels.
Top 10 Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of diabetes is key to early diagnosis and management. Listed below are 10 of the most common symptoms associated with diabetes:
1. Frequent Urination
One of the first signs of diabetes is an increased need to urinate more frequently. This happens because elevated blood sugar pulls water out of the tissue, so your body loses fluid easily and needs to release it by urinating.
2. Increased Thirst
As a result of frequent urination, your body becomes dehydrated, leading to an increased thirst. Make sure to track your water intake to see if there’s a substantial increase in fluid consumption.
3. Persistent Hunger
Diabetes affects how your body processes glucose, leading to persistent hunger even after eating. This occurs as your body is unable to convert the food you eat into energy efficiently.
Inefficient glucose processing may also cause fatigue. You may feel consistently tired or exhausted throughout the day, even after a full night’s rest.
5. Blurred Vision
High blood sugar levels can cause fluid to leak into the eye, resulting in blurred vision. This symptom indicates that your blood sugar is not within the ideal range.
6. Slow Wound Healing
Wounds may take longer to heal among people with diabetes as high blood sugar weakens the immune system, affecting the body’s ability to repair itself.
7. Tingling or Numbness in Extremities
High blood sugar levels damage the nerves, causing tingling or numbness in your hands or feet. This condition is known as neuropathy.
8. Frequent Infections
Diabetes often leads to a weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to frequent infections, such as yeast infections or urinary tract infections.
9. Unexplained Weight Loss
If you’re experiencing inexplicable weight loss, it might be a sign of diabetes, especially when accompanied by increased hunger. Your body cannot use the increased amount of food (and glucose) you’re consuming so you still lose weight.
10. Darkened Skin Patches
Acanthosis nigricans is a condition characterized by darkened skin patches, usually around the neck or armpits. It is most commonly associated with high blood insulin levels (insulin resistance), a precursor to diabetes.
When to Consult an Internist
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should consider consulting an internist for a proper health assessment. They are internal medicine physicians, who are experts in complex health conditions.
Internists specialize in adult medicine and are specifically trained to solve diagnostic problems, help patients with multiple, complex chronic conditions, and manage severe long-term illnesses. With an emphasis on establishing long-term relationships with patients, internists provide comprehensive, personalized patient care with treatment recommendations based on each patient’s unique situation.
To diagnose a chronic disease, such as diabetes, an internist will evaluate your personal health history, family health history, and conduct necessary tests. This can include blood and urine tests, to check blood sugar levels and the presence of ketones in urine) and assess for any other underlying health conditions.
Remember, early detection is crucial for chronic disease management. Staying informed and recognizing the early signs of diabetes is the first step towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Consult an internist when in doubt, and make necessary adjustments to your daily routine for better overall health and to prevent long-term complications.
Comprehensive Diabetes Care in Dallas, Texas
If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of diabetes or have any other health concerns, visit Prime Internal Medicine Associates in Dallas, Texas. Our compassionate internists provide high quality, comprehensive healthcare to adults of all ages in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area. We utilize an integrated approach to healthcare with treatment plans that combine a unique blend of holistic techniques and traditional medical care.
To learn more about our services or to arrange a consultation with one of our expert internist doctors, call our friendly practice today at (972) 239-5445 or use our convenient appointment request form. We look forward to treating you!