By Diane Hwang
Identifying your risk of diabetes early can help you better manage it with less stress. Delayed diagnosis can be dangerous. Learn about the warning signs of diabetes and seek help early so you suspect you may be diabetic.
Types of Diabetes
First, you should understand the types of diabetes. Diabetes is divided into two types: Type 1 and Type 2. If your diabetes diagnosis indicates you have Type 1, that means that your body’s pancreas is not able to produce insulin. You will need to monitor your glucose levels and administer insulin injections every day at times determined by your doctor. If your diabetes diagnosis is for Type 2, this means that while your body is making insulin, it is not making enough, so you will need to monitor your glucose levels. While Type 2 is serious, it is a condition that can be successfully managed by eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, and taking the medication prescribed by your doctor.
Symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes
Most Type 1 diagnoses are in very young children (between the ages of 4 and 14). Note that these symptoms can also be indicators of undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes:
- Excessive thirst or hunger: In diabetics, the kidneys are working overtime to reduce the amount of sugar in the bloodstream. This results in frequent urination (another symptom) and excessive thirst to compensate. Similarly, the lack of insulin/the inability to use the insulin that is created by the body hinders the body’s ability to draw nutrients out of food. This can cause excessive hunger.
- Bedwetting: Frequent urination can result in bedwetting, especially for children.
Fatigue: This is in direct relation to being unable to extract nutrients from food consumed. Even with frequent good night’s sleep, the body is unable to find the energy to be alert and awake.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Unlike Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 is not only far more common but can also be treated with lifestyle and nutrition changes. Common symptoms include:
- Weight loss: Similar to excessive hunger and fatigue, weight loss is a result of the body’s inability to gain nutrients and energy from the food you consume.
- Blurred vision: Excess sugar in the bloodstream can damage the sensitive vessels in your eyes, thus causing blurred vision.
- Yeast infections: Excess sugar can prompt yeast to flourish in any moist area, including the armpits, mouth, and throat.
Simple Lifestyle Changes to Manage Your Diabetes
Whether your diabetes diagnosis is for Type 1 or Type 2, knowing how to manage your condition is important for preserving your health and wellness. Staying aware of your dietary choices and committing to regular exercise are two of the most effective strategies you have.
The first thing you can do is make changes to your diet. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you can never have a piece of birthday cake, enjoy an ice cream or waffles again. What it does mean is watching ingredients, monitoring portion size, and ensuring your meals are spaced throughout the day.
Even with a diabetes diagnosis, living a full and healthy life is 100% possible if you commit to staying active. Whether you enjoy walking, swimming, lifting weights, yoga, biking, or taking exercise classes at the local gym, any form of exercise will help to keep your blood sugar regulated. It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor about which activities will be right for you and your unique health situation.