Diabetes, the illness affecting how your body uses food for energy, is a fact of life for more than 4.9 million in the UK (according to Diabetes UK), with more than 13.6 million people at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
With this in mind, it is more important than ever for you to be aware of the early signs of diabetes – as they can easily be missed.
Unmanaged diabetes can increase the risk of severe health problems such as heart disease, kidney disease or vision loss.
You can screen yourself for high blood glucose levels through a home test with a diagnosis of diabetes being confirmed by your doctor after further testing.
How do I know if I should test for diabetes?
Guidelines for diabetes testing suggest the following should get tested:
- Those aged 45 or over
- Those who are overweight
- Those who have a parent or sibling with diabetes
- Those with a history of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol and are physically inactive
- Those with polycystic ovary syndrome
- Women who have had gestational diabetes (should be tested every three years)
What are some of the signs of diabetes I should be looking out for?
Diabetes UK is an excellent resource for those wanting to learn more about diabetes.
But some of the signs of diabetes you should be looking out for include:
- Frequent Urination – also known as polyuria, a condition where the body passes excessive or abnormally large amounts of urine each time you urinate, and the body urinates more than usual. This can cause the kidneys to allow some glucose to go into your urine as the kidneys can’t keep up with it.
- Extreme Thirst – is tied to high blood sugar and is made worse by frequent urination. Drinking more often won’t satisfy the thirst.
- Increased Hungar – also known as polyphagia. Your body feeds the cells in your blood with glucose. When this system isn’t working correctly, the cells cannot absorb glucose, so your body constantly looks for more fuel.
- Nerve Pain/Numbness – experiencing numbness or tingling in your fingers, hands, toes or feet is a sign of nerve damage.
- Slow Healing Wounds – prolonged high blood glucose levels will damage your immune system meaning your body finds it harder to fight infection. Your blood circulation can also be slowed due to a narrowing of blood vessels, restricting oxygen and nutrients from getting to a wound.
- Blurred Vision – can be a result of suddenly high blood glucose levels which can cause fluid to seep into the eye’s lens. If this happens, you need to see an optician straight away.
- Dry mouth – is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes. It can show the mouth being continually dry, trouble swallowing or chewing, dry lips, sores or infections in the mouth, or a rough tongue.
- Fatigue – is one of the hallmark symptoms of diabetes. Possibly caused by fluctuating blood glucose levels not supplying enough glucose for the body to use for energy.
What should I do if I suffer from any of these symptoms?
If you think you might be suffering from these early signs of diabetes, you should contact your doctor straight away.
While waiting for your appointment, you can use the Test2Go Blood Glucose Level test to discover whether your blood glucose levels are outside the norm.