This month is dedicated as Diabetes Awareness Month, because early awareness and detection of the disease leads to better outcomes. It is important to remember that while certain factors can increase your risk of developing diabetes (such as being overweight), the disease can strike anyone. It does, however, become more common as we age.
With 25 percent of Americans over 60 diagnosed with diabetes, it is more important than ever to learn the warning signs. If you spot any of these signs in yourself or your spouse, it’s time to visit your doctor for a screening.
- Frequent urination, caused by the kidneys attempting to clear excess glucose from the blood
- A sudden increase in thirst or a feeling of “dry mouth”
- Unexpected and unexplained weight loss
- Feeling hungry all the time
- Pain or numbness in the feet
- Frequent bacterial or yeast infections
- Blurred vision, especially if this symptom tends to fluctuate
Any of these signs, particularly if you experience several at once, could be early warning signs of diabetes. They can also indicate that the disease has been developing for some time, and that you could be in significant danger of excessively high blood sugar. That’s why it is so important to report these symptoms to your doctor right away, rather than waiting for your next check-up.
In addition, keep in mind that many adults are diagnosed with “pre-diabetes”, which means they are at increased risk of developing full-blown diabetes in the near future. These individuals have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to qualify as diabetes.
Only about 12 percent of people with pre-diabetes are aware of their condition, which is unfortunate since the progression of the disease can often be reversed. If your doctor recommends weight loss or lifestyle modifications to avoid the development of diabetes, follow their instructions carefully. Doing so can reverse your condition, and prevent the need for daily monitoring, medication, and other complications associated with diabetes. Best of all, you will likely prolong your life.