" " di-BTRIM: Diabetes; top 5 warning signs that can save your life.

Diabetes; top 5 warning signs that can save your life.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Diabetes is a killer of global proportions, affecting young and old, rich and poor alike. Detecting it early however can dramatically increase ones chances of survival and help sufferers lead a better quality of life.

Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood. When eating food, a sugar called glucose enters the bloodstream. Glucose is a sort of fuel for the body but before it can be used up it needs to be moved from the bloodstream into muscle, fat and liver cells.

However, if a persons body is unable to move the glucose from  the bloodstream into these cells, they end up with high contents of sugar in their blood, which could prove fatal. There are three main reasons for this happening.
1. The pancreas does not make enough insulin.
2. The cells do not respond to insulin in a normal way.
3. A combination of the above.

Knowing that you have diabetes and what type of diabetes (Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational Diabetes) you have will help you make the adjustments you need to limit the effects of this illness and begin the necessary medical treatments advisable.  Early warning signs include frequent trips to the bathroom, an unquenchable thirst, loosing weight without trying, weakness and fatigue, and a tingling or numbness in your hands, legs or feet.

1. Frequent trips to the bathroom
If you find yourself thinking that you are spending your life on the toilet it might be because your body is not producing insulin or the insulin that your body is producing has become ineffective. Your kidneys can't filter glucose back to the blood and they become overwhelmed. In an effort to dilute the glucose they try draw extra water out of the blood, keeping your bladder full and you running to the toilet the whole day.

2. An unquenchable thirst
Drinking much more water than usual and still unable to slake that thirst? You might want to pay your doctor a visit, especially if these symptoms are accompanied by frequent urination.

3. Loosing weight without trying
This a more common symptom in those people who suffer from Type 1 diabetes. When the pancreas stops making insulin, the body desperately looks for an energy source because the body's cells are not getting the glucose they need. The body therefore starts to break down muscle tissue and fat for energy. In Type 2 weight loss is not that noticeable, happening gradually with increasing insulin resistance.

4. Weakness and fatigue
A car can not run without fuel nor can the body run without glucose. Glucose from the food we eat travels into the bloodstream where insulin is supposed to help it transition into the cells of our body. The cells then convert the glucose into the energy we need to live but when the insulin isn't there or the cells don't react to it anymore glucose remain in the bloodstream. The body's cells are thus starved of energy and the person feels run down and tired.

5. Tingling or numbness in your hands, legs or feet.
AKA neuropathy, this usually occurs gradually over time as consistently high amounts of glucose in the bloodstream damage the nervous system, particularly in the extremities. Because Type 2 diabetes is a gradual onset, high blood sugar levels may have been prevalent for many years before a diagnosis has been made. Your nerves are therefore being slowly damaged without your knowledge. A positive here is that neuropathy can very often be improved by implementing tighter blood glucose controls, making early detection vital.

Other early signs that one might have diabetes include blurred vision, dry or itchy skin, frequent infections and cuts or bruises that take seriously long times to heal. The important thing to see here is that getting to a doctor as quickly as possible to rule out diabetes is vitally important to your life and quality of life.

Once diabetes has been diagnosed, the patient can then make informed decisions about what treatment is necessary. In Type 1 diabetes, sufferers normally have to take a daily insulin injection. In Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes with over 90% of sufferers affected by this type, insulin may also be administered if oral medications are not enough to keep blood glucose levels in a normal range.

However, in a recent study conducted, it was shown that 58% of people with pre-diabetes who lost a couple of pounds through adjusting their diet and exercise, greatly improved their blood sugar levels, sometimes even returning back to normal levels.

This means that there is hope for people who suffer from diabetes and that diabetes does not have to be the death knoll but could just be the signal to an adjustment to a better way of life.

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