More and more experts agree that diabetes, due to its progression and number of cases, acts as an epidemic disease.
Although it is one of the leading causes of death this century, it is a preventable condition. To anticipate its appearance, we are going to review its main warning signs and what measures are useful to keep it away.
Warning signs of diabetes
Preventing diabetes by identifying the early signs or symptoms is helpful in receiving early diagnosis and treatment, thus reducing the risk of complications. Be aware of the following warning signs:
Generally, excessive thirst can go unnoticed as a sign of diabetes, as it is a fairly common condition. If this becomes frequent, you should consult an expert.
When you have diabetes, glucose accumulates in the blood, forcing the work of the kidneys to be able to filter and absorb it.
When the kidneys cannot keep up, glucose is excreted directly into the urine, carrying fluid from the tissues with it. This causes dehydration and thirst respectively.
Numbness of hands and feet
Numbness or popular “tingling” in the hands and feet can be an early sign of diabetes, specifically diabetic neuropathy.
This occurs due to the constant presence of glucose in the blood, which in the long run affects and weakens the functioning of the nerves.
This situation can be aggravated if, in addition to high blood sugar levels, the patient smokes or suffers from hypertension.
Frequent injuries and infections
When glucose concentrations in the blood are high, they can affect blood flow and impair the body’s recovery processes.
This translates into more frequent wounds or longer healing times, especially on the feet.
It is also common for some women with diabetes to experience more bladder and vaginal infections.
In addition to poor circulation, high blood glucose levels also make it difficult to fight infection.
This is usually seen first in the gums, which appear red, swollen or tender.
In the worst case, teeth may loosen or pus sores or blisters develop on the gums.
High blood glucose levels affect the body’s ability to use sugar to meet its energy needs and ensure proper cell function. This can cause, among other things, extreme and unexplained tiredness or fatigue.
Involuntary weight loss
Excess glucose causes frequent urination, and with this also many calories are lost. In addition, diabetes can make it difficult for cells to absorb sugar properly, causing rapid weight loss and poor body function.
Eye sight problems
High blood glucose levels can cause fluid to drain from tissues, including the lenses of the eyes. This affects the ability to focus.
- Ways to prevent diabetes
Although these early changes do not cause vision problems for most people, if they progress undetected they can lead to vision loss or blindness.
How to prevent diabetes
By incorporating a few simple lifestyle measures you can prevent diabetes or delay its onset:
- Healthy nutrition: It is advisable to include foods with a low glycemic index (a measure that indicates how quickly a food can raise blood sugar level), rich in minerals, vitamins, fiber and antioxidants, while low in carbohydrates. Try apples, berries, kiwis, grapes, broccoli, kale, legumes, fish, and seeds. It is also advisable to avoid sugary, refined, salty or processed products.
- To avoid the use of tobaccoNicotine and certain chemicals found in cigarettes can damage cells, cause inflammation, affect insulin response, and increase the risk of increasing belly fat. These are all risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
- Doing physical activity: exercise has a double function to prevent type 2 diabetes, since it increases the consumption of glucose by the body, while stimulating the muscle fibers, favoring the transport of sugar into the cells. Although all types of movement are positive when it comes to preventing type 2 diabetes, the greatest benefits are seen in moderate intensity activities.
- Have a healthy weight: being overweight, especially when it is distributed in the abdominal area, increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Specialists advise losing weight, not regaining it and maintaining it in the long term. This also provides protection against other types of health problems or disorders.
Although it is a preventable disease, diabetes, due to its progression and number of cases, became the “pandemic of the 21st century.”
To anticipate its appearance, specialists point out that its warning signs should be known, and thus receive early diagnosis and treatment.
The first symptoms are usually: very thirsty, fatigue, vision and gum problems, weight loss, numbness in the hands and feet, and frequent injuries or infections.
You can also prevent or delay the onset of diabetes by incorporating lifestyle changes, such as not smoking, eating a balanced, sustainable and healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing your weight.
Sources consulted: US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mayo Clinic, World Health Organization.