100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes - that's 1/3 of the U.S. population! (1) Diabetes is a serious condition that occurs when your blood sugar, also known as glucose, cannot be used up by the body and remains in the bloodstream. Long-term consequences of elevated, uncontrolled glucose include kidney damage, nerve damage, and loss of sight. Unfortunately, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S.
There are warning signs that our blood glucose may be too high, although not everyone will experience them. Let's take a look at what they are.
Thirst and Frequent Urination
The kidneys filter and absorb nutrients. Glucose is one nutrient the kidneys reabsorb back into circulation. However, when blood glucose levels rise too high, it surpasses the kidneys threshold for reabsorption. More urine is needed to filter glucose out. As a result, the kidneys activate your thirst signals to get you to drink more water. The more water you drink, the more likely you’re going to need to head to the bathroom.
People with type 2 diabetes often develop insulin resistance, meaning insulin cannot do its proper job of enabling glucose into your cells. Our cells need glucose for energy, and when they can’t absorb the glucose, it leads to a starved state. In continually looking for fuel, your cells stimulate appetite causing you to overeat.
Constant fatigue is another common symptom associated with type 2 diabetes. As previously mentioned, your cells are unable to obtain energy from glucose., causing chronic fatigue.
Although appetite and hunger are both activated, unexplained weight loss is also an early warning symptom of type 2 diabetes as the body is not being properly fueled. This tends to happen very quickly so look out for any rapid and unexplained weight loss.
Dark spots called acanthosis nigricans also may develop mainly as a consequence of insulin resistance or hyperinsulinemia. They tend to form around the armpits, neck, and groin area as seen below.
Many people often don’t experience symptoms at all. If you feel like you have spotted one or more of these warnings signs, consult your primary care physician immediately. The quicker you address this illness, the faster you can be on your way to reversing it!