Do you think you have diabetes but are unsure if you should be concerned? If so, you are not alone. diabetes is one of the most commonly occurring chronic conditions, affecting millions. Unfortunately, many of those affected may not be aware of the symptoms of diabetes or their significance. First, let's find out about the types of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition wherein the body's immune system attacks and terminates the pancreatic cells producing insulin.
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is an ailment in which the body cannot process and adequately use the insulin produced. This leads to a buildup of sugar in the bloodstream.
What are the symptoms of early diabetes?
The most common symptoms of diabetes are increased thirst, frequent urination, and unintended weight loss. These symptoms can occur in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, though they may be more pronounced in type 1. Other early symptoms may include:
• Blurred vision
• Slow healing of wounds
• Frequent infections
• Unexplained weight loss
Other signs of early diabetes
In addition to the symptoms listed above, some physical signs can indicate the presence of diabetes.
• Darkened skin in certain areas
• Numbness or tingling in the feet and hands
• Itchy skin
• Dry mouth
• Excessive thirst
• Unexplained weight loss
• Frequent urination
• Blurred vision
Why is diabetes not detected early?
Symptoms of diabetes are often not detected early because the condition often does not cause any noticeable symptoms in its early stages.
It is known as silent diabetes, which arises when high blood sugar levels are present but not yet high enough to display symptoms such as frequent urination, thirst, and fatigue.
Another reason why diabetes may not be detected early because the symptoms can be mistaken for other conditions. For example, frequent urination and thirst can be caused by a urinary tract infection, and a lack of sleep or anaemia can cause fatigue.
Additionally, some people may not be aware of the risk factors for diabetes, such as:
• Excess body weight
• Having a family history of the condition
• Aged above 45 years
Without knowledge of these risk factors, people may not consider diabetes a possibility when experiencing symptoms.
To help detect diabetes early, it is essential to be attentive to the risk factors and to plan regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. Your healthcare provider may also suggest testing for diabetes.
By detecting diabetes early, you can take steps to manage the condition and lower your risk of difficulties such as heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. This consists of eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and taking medication as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
How to test for diabetes?
Several tests can detect silent diabetes, which refers to the condition's early stages when symptoms may not yet be present. Some commonly used tests include:
• Fasting blood sugar test
• Haemoglobin A1C test
• Oral glucose tolerance test
• Random blood sugar test
It is essential to be mindful of the risk factors and schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider. They may suggest testing for diabetes if they suspect you are at high risk.
Diabetes is manageable
Diabetes is a condition that affects millions of people around the world.
It is important to remember that early detection and management of diabetes can significantly improve your chances of successfully managing the condition.
• Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly.
• Follow a healthy diet.
• Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily.
• Quit smoking.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Take medication as prescribed.
• Control stress levels.
• Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider.
Following these action points can help control your diabetes and lower your risk of complications. Managing diabetes is a long-term commitment, but you can successfully control the condition and maintain good health with the proper support and resources.
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What is silent diabetes?
It is a condition where diabetes goes undetected because the condition often does not cause any noticeable symptoms in its early stages. It occurs when blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to cause symptoms such as frequent urination, thirst, and fatigue.
How helpful is early detection of diabetes?
When diabetes is detected early, individuals can make necessary lifestyle changes and start treatment before serious complications develop. Early treatment can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and other diabetes-related complications.
Is pre-diabetes reversible?
Pre-diabetes can sometimes be reversed through lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and increased physical activity. These changes can help lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve overall health.