Diabetes: The Silent Killer Disease -- How to Check if You Have It

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes

Have you noticed unusual health symptoms lately, such as increased thirst, hunger or urinary frequency? These could be warning signs that you are suffering from diabetes. Often referred to as a "silent killer" disease, diabetes can sneak up on you because the symptoms are not considered life threatening.  One can go for quite awhile without realizing that an annoying health development like increased thirst and/or increased urinary frequency is actually a symptom of diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes symptoms are more noticeable; type 2 diabetes often has no noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Make sure to have your blood glucose levels checked and tell your doctor if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms of diabetes:

* Frequent urination is often one of the first signs that you may have diabetes, especially type 1. This takes place due to the excessive sugar circulating in the blood, which causes fluids to be extractedExtreme Thirst is a Possible Symptom of DiabetesCredit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=851 from bodily tissues and into the bloodstream. This then increases the amount of fluids that kidneys remove from your blood, causing more frequent urination.  More than a hassle, this could be an important sign of a greater problem and you should see a doctor right away.

* Excessive or unusual thirst is another one of the many signs and symptoms of diabetes. This happens because of increased urination. High levels of blood sugar, or glucose, also causes you to feel thirsty as your body expels fluids as a mechanism to try and flush excess sugars out of your body. Coupled as it is with the frequent urination symptom, often times this might be the one that you notice first.  

* Weight loss, especially when it does not happen on purpose, could be a sign of diabetes, especially type 1. A diabetic person's body secretes more insulin as a way to deal with the elevated sugars, while the body is simultaneously resisting the action of the insulin. Patients often feel hungrier due to the excess insulin, but fail to gain weight and may also lose weight. Often times, people might not consider this an early symptom of diabetes and just be glad that the weight was lost without much effort.  Nevertheless, you should see a doctor if this happens to you.

* Do you feel excessively fatigued or tired all of the time? In diabetes, the body loses its ability to effectively utilize glucose as an energy source. It must start metabolizing fat stores for energy, which is harder on the body and causes the feelings of tiredness and fatigue.  Feeling run down can be a symptom with myriad causes and so you should see a doctor if you're feeling this way to rule out this as one of the signs and symptoms of diabetes or a host of other ailments.

* Infections are more common in people suffering from diabetes. The extra glucose in their bodily tissues allows various bacteria and yeasts to grow. An impaired immune system makes it more difficult for people to fight off certain bacteria, resulting in yeast infections, frequent urinary tract infections and skin infections.  A yeast infection or UTI can be a problem unrelated to diabetes.  You should see a doctor to rule out an infection being diabetes symptom.

* Blurry vision is a symptom that many diabetics experience. This is not a specific symptom in every case, but can happen often when people have a high blood glucose level.  If you see your general practitioner about blurry vision, he or she can check to see if you have other diabetes signs and symptoms or refer you to an eye doctor if blurry vision is unrelated to a diabetes diagnosis.

Blurry Vision Can be a Symptom of DiabetesCredit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=413

* Slow wound healing and frequent bruises should prompt you to make an appointment with your doctor. Excessive levels of sugar in the blood prevent white blood cells from fulfilling their proper role which is to fight bacteria and clean up damaged tissues.  Wounds can take longer to heal and infections are common. Additionally, untreated diabetes that has been present for a long time causes blood vessels to grow thicker and make it harder for blood, oxygen and nutrients to circulate through the body.

As you can probably see, diabetes causes several types of symptoms, some of which can easily be mistaken for something less serious or they can be ignored altogether. If you notice that you have any of the above signs and symptoms of diabetes, discuss them with your doctor and have the proper tests performed to determine your health status. Diabetes is very treatable if caught early, but can have serious health consequences if left untreated. Invest in your health and talk to your doctor today to ensure that you can continue to enjoy the benefits of your good health.