Diabetes is a condition when the level of blood glucose in the body is higher than normal. Blood glucose is the content of sugar in the blood and is used for creating energy, so this is actually an important element. Glucose can stay in your blood when you eat foods containing glucose such s bread, rice, potatoes and some other vegetables and fruits. This glucose is carried by the blood to all the cells in the body for building energy.
The way the blood carrying glucose is helped by insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. If the insulin is not enough or it doesn’t work properly, the blood can’t carry the glucose and it keeps in the blood. When the glucose doesn’t reach the cells of your body and is accumulated in the blood, it is becoming too high, which is called as diabetes.
The Difference with Prediabetes
Both diabetes and prediabetes are showing the same sign, the high level of glucose in the blood. So what is the difference? Prediabetes is milder than diabetes because this condition is still manageable. When you are suffering from prediabetes, the level of glucose in your blood is not as high as those with diabetes.
However, prediabetes can lead to diabetes type 2 and other diseases such as stroke and heart disease when this is not addressed properly. At least this condition can be still recovered by getting a healthier life without having to take some medicines. Just be more active and lose some weight can reduce the risks of getting diabetes.
Types of Diabetes
Diabetes is not limited by age or sex. Both men and women, young and old can suffer from diabetes. There are three types of diabetes that you should be aware of because all of them can lead to harmful diseases if not treated properly.
- Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes mostly happens in younger people and it is caused by the lacking of insulin in the body. The insulin is created by your pancreas’s cells, but when the immune system, which is usually protecting the body from any viruses or bacteria, can’t work properly and even destroy the cells, insulin can’t be made. Since it is caused by lacking of insulin, usually the treatment is by giving insulin injections or consuming medicines. This should be supported with healthy life style and healthy foods to control the blood glucose level.
- Type 2 Diabetes
This diabetes type can happen to anyone at any age, but it mostly happens to older people. The risks of inactive and overweight people are also higher in developing this diabetes type. Type 2 diabetes is caused by the increasing demand of insulin in your body because the increasing sugar intake. This high demand leads to insulin resistance, which is a condition where the receptor cells are resistant to insulin making the glucose stays in the blood. The higher the blood glucose, the higher the demand of insulin.
It then makes the pancreas producing more insulin at first, but after that it is no longer producing enough of it and that is when it becomes the type 2 diabetes. The treatment of this diabetes type is actually the same as treating the type 1; you need to control your blood pressure, being active, living healthier and taking medicines (Read : Long term effects of type 2 diabetes).
Not only caused by the unhealthy lifestyle, this diabetes type is also highly affected by family history. So if you have family member suffering from this disease, you maybe in a higher risk. Obesity people are also having a higher risk of this diabetes type because they tend to eat sugar foods than the slimmer ones. This is also more common happen to people lacking of vitamin D, which can be naturally taken by the sunlight. Enough amount of vitamin D is important for boosting the immune system while improving the sensitivity of insulin. If you are suffering from obesity, then you need to eat low the fiber and sugar intake and go with rich nutrients foods.
- Gestational Diabetes
Pregnant women tend to suffer from gestational diabetes because they are frequently getting insulin resistance due to pregnancy hormones. Although all pregnant women can get the risk of this diabetes type, those with obesity have a higher risk. However, during pregnancy women tend to gain more weight and this is also one of the factors. The good news is this diabetes type only stays during pregnancy, which means once the baby born, the disease is gone. The bad news is the women later would have a risk of diabetes type 2, so would the baby.
Type 1 and Type 2 Differences
There are two common causes of diabetes, the first is the lacking of insulin completely that leads to diabetes type 1 and the insulin can’t be effectively used or its amount is very little, which leads to type 2 diabetes. This is one of the differences between type 1 and 2, but there are also some other differences to check.
- Type 1 diabetes is less common than type 2 diabetes, which mostly happen to elderly people. Type 1 happens when the immune system attacks your insulin cells and makes them not able to produce insulin. Since glucose should be carried by insulin, this leads to diabetes.
- The reason why type 2 diabetes is more common is because it is more frequently caused by the inability of the body to use insulin for carrying glucose. When it happens again and again, the pancreas cells are no longer producing enough insulin and your body can suffer from insulin deficiency, which is even worse than diabetes itself.
- Type 1 diabetes has clearer symptoms from younger ages, but most people recognize this disease when the blood sugar level is rising high.
- Type 2 diabetes mostly recognized at older ages and most cases happen when the symptoms are so mild that people don’t know they have diabetes unless they check for it.
- Type 1 diabetes can lead to low blood sugar level as well, but type 2 never leads to any low blood sugar. If you are suffering from type 2 diabetes, you need to take some medicines to have low blood sugar.
- Type 1 diabetes can’t be prevented since it happens caused by the immune system attacking the insulin cells, while type 2 diabetes is caused by external factors such as unhealthy lifestyle that can be still prevented by having healthier one.
Both type 1 and 2 diabetes are harmful for your health because they can lead to other severe diseases such as stroke and heart disease. The worst thing is that you might not recognize the mild symptoms of early diabetes and it makes you unaware of the disease coming. When there is no warning, there is no treatment. The longer the diseases stays, the worse it would be. The best way to treat diabetes is to recognize its coming right away from the start to help you quickly find get the right treatment. Type 1 and 2 diabetes might be caused by different factors, but they have almost the same symptoms that you can recognize. Many of the symptoms are really mild and they might be underestimated since they don’t have significant effects to your health, so here are the symptoms that you should be aware of.
Signs of diabetes could be easy to know, but some of them will know until in severe level. Here are complate list if you are under diabetes.
1. Unexplained Weight Loss
The most frequent diabetes symptoms is lose body weight. Losing some weight could be a dream for overweight people, but when you lose some weight even without trying anything, there should be a bid question. Are you okay? Weight loss happens always with a reason. This is a kind of unhealthy weight loss caused by the insulin can’t work properly in carrying glucose. Usually glucose should be carried to the cells of your body to create energy, but when there is no energy; your body is getting it wrong. It thinks that you are still starving.
That is why to create energy your body uses the protein from the muscle instead since there is no glucose carried. At the same time, the amount of glucose in the body is increasing and your kidney should work much harder to eliminate it. As a result, calories are cut and you are losing your weight rapidly. The kidney needs a lot of energy to eliminate the glucose in the blood and that is normal when more calories are reduced.
You could lose about 20 pounds in just three months. When it happens again and again, your body can even suffer from calorie-deficit. It is just you who don’t understand what is happening inside your body. Moreover, the sudden weight loss is also caused by the frequent urination, which is also the other symptom. Since the sugar in the blood is not reaching the cells in your body, then your body would feel hungry more intensely than normal people considering the glucose stays in the blood instead of carried to the cells. That is why diabetes people tend to lose weight rapidly.
2. Blurred Vision
Blurred vision is one of diabetes causes that might not be paid to attention because it might be mistaken as a kind of eye disorder. High blood sugar level leads to blurred vision, a condition where you occasionally find some light flashes or floaters in your vision, because the lens’s shape change. It can be also caused by the lacking of fluids in your eyes due to the high glucose level making your lenses hard to focus on something.
The worst is that this eye problem can even lead to blindness if you leave it happens again and again without checking your blood sugar. You can actually get your eyes back to normal after your blood sugar is normal. Without checking you can’t have normal blood sugar since you don’t even know what is happening.
So to avoid some other problems happen to your eyes, you need to check your blood sugar when you experience blurred vision just to see whether or not you are suffering from diabetes or eye disorder.
3. Excessive Thirst and Urination
Diabetes makes people to urinate more frequent and it results in the feeling of thirsty. This is very common to happen when you have to go to the bathroom many times; you will need to drink more and more since your body is losing its fluid. Excessive thirst and frequent urination are two symptoms that go together side by side; one can’t be separated from the other.
If you are suffering from these two symptoms, go check your blood sugar. The rule is actually simple. The more you drink, the more you pee. The more you pee, the more you drink because your body is lacking of fluid. You can’t get away from thirst and that is why you have more and more frequent urination. The main factor of why you are very thirsty is because the high level of glucose in your body can’t be absorbed and it needs fluid, so the body works harder to make more urine, which means you need to drink more.
Your body normally can do the absorption when the level of glucose is normal, so take your blood glucose to normal can help treating this condition. Also, the kidneys are working really hard to filter the level of glucose and this organ can get tired. When it is, the sugar left comes along with your urine to the excretion making you want to drink and pee more.
Your kidneys also use the water in the blood for filtering the glucose and that is another reason why you need to drink more. This is actually the tissues of your body that are dehydrated, and they affect you. So when you feel you pee and drink more often than usual, even you have to spend many hours a day just to go back and forth to the bathroom and then fill yourself again with water, go check your blood sugar.
When you have to go back and forth to the bathroom especially at night, you would surely become tired. Not because you have to walk from the bed to the bathroom, but it is more about the glucose deficiency happen in your body because your body is urinating more often. The feeling of dehydration would make you even more tired without reasons.
The sugar in your body is no longer useful for building energy, so you can feel so bad easily. As has been said before, when the insulin doesn’t work well, the glucose can’t be carried to the body cells and when it happens, there is no energy formed from the glucose.
The glucose is not absorbed, not carried by the insulin and it is even excreted with the urine, so do you need more reasons why diabetes people are feeling tired more often? This symptom might be undetected because fatigue can be a symptom of other diseases or it is just a feeling of tired after doing something hard, but when it comes along with the other diabetes symptoms, you surely need to go check it.
5. Increased Hunger
The main problem of having diabetes is because the level of glucose in your blood is rising. The glucose itself is actually very important for your body since it is later turned into energy making your body feel better. However, since the glucose is not carried to the cells in your body, they are not turned into energy and it results in the feeling of hunger since your body thinks it still needs to eat.
In the other word, when you eat something, the glucose is not absorbed to your body since the insulin doesn’t work well. Your body is craving more and more foods while you keep eating but it never gets enough. You can easily feel hungry again and again. This is also the reason why diabetes people are feeling fatigue since it is related with hunger. When you are hungry, you are feeling fatigue.
6. Tingling Hands and Feet
The nerves in your body could be damaged by the condition of high glucose level in the blood. When the nerves are damaged, you can feel numbness or tingling mostly happen to the feet and hands. This tingling feeling can come along together with burning and pain.
You can treat this symptom by controlling your blood glucose since lower blood glucose will lower the tingling feeling too. However, when you just leave it for too long, it might become permanent. The best way to do is to treat high blood glucose quickly when symptoms happen.
7. Slow Healing
This is actually a classic diabetes symptom that maybe almost everyone already knew. When someone is suffering from slow healing, it is mostly connected with diabetes. When the nerves in your body are getting damage, you might feel numbness or tingling, as has been mentioned in the previous symptom, but the damage happen in the blood vessels, it can lead to slow healing condition.
Blood vessels can get damage when the glucose level is getting higher. The glucose is staying in the veins preventing the blood from flowing smoothly to the other parts of your body for healing injuries.
Your blood plays a very important role in healing process, so when this can’t even reach the other body areas easily, this can’t work properly. So the higher glucose level, the longer the healing process.
8. Gum Problems
When your body is healthy, it can protect itself from germs that can cause problems to your gums. However, when you are suffering from diabetes, your body is weakening so the germs might not be pulled away. It ends up with the condition of tender gums.
The gums becoming tender and the teeth are loosened. The bones are not strong enough to hold the teeth tightly. Not only tender, this can be accompanied with swollen or redness.
9. Gaining Weight
While losing weight suddenly is one of the diabetes symptoms, unexplained gained weight is also another symptom, although both of them are contradicting to each other.
You lose some weight because of the calorie-deficit in your body since you are having frequent urination while the glucose in the blood is not even turned into energy. While you are losing weight, you can also gain weight since you are hungry so easily.
Your body feels like it is not filling up because the energy is not well formed. That is why it is craving more and it also gains more weight.
Diabetes Symptoms on the Skin
Diabetes is not only affecting your overall health, but this is also carrying some symptoms toward the skin. Symptoms of diabetes on skin When you find that your body is not feeling well, your skin is in the same condition, and here are some signs to recognize.
- Itchy and Dry Skin
Remember the previous symptoms when your body needs more fluid that is why you are thirsty? It affects your skin as well. The lack of fluid due to the frequent urination makes your skin less moisture. Not only you are feeling dehydrated, but your skin and mouth are also dry at the same time. The dryness can lead to itchiness and this is another diabetes symptom.
Not only dryness, but also yeast infection and poor blood flow can also lead to itchiness. Poor blood flow can affect the feet and legs on the lower areas getting itchy, so if you have those areas feel uncomfortable and itchy, then your blood flow might be poor. Keep your skin moisturized by applying lotion to prevent the itchiness. It is not always a sign of diabetes because there are other skin problems that can be indicated with dryness and itchiness, but if other symptoms exist, then it is better to see whether or not your blood sugar is rising.
- Darkened Skin
Insulin resistance can cause the forming of dark areas on some parts of your skin, which are usually the skin folds areas such as the armpits.
Not only turning tan or dark, the skin is thickening, slightly rising.This is said to happen for those people with diabetes who are overweight.
Controlling the body weight might be a good starting point to come up with solution.
However, this is not only a sign of diabetes because some health issues also have this kind of symptom. So ensure to check your blood glucose first to diagnose.
Your skin has some cells that can affect the color of your skin or also called as pigment. These cells control the color of your skin, but when you are suffering from type 1 diabetes, these cells are commonly destroyed. As a result, you might find your skin is patched in discoloration, which happens commonly on the skin of the abdomen and chest or around the eyes and mouth. When your skin is in discoloration, apply sunscreen whenever you go out to protect the patched areas.
- Shin Spots
The lower legs are commonly getting the effects of diabetes, not only you can find them dry and itchy, but they can also covered with round thin skin or also called as shin spots or dermopathy. This is a condition where the blood vessels change making the outer skin becomes covered with shiny patches. Don’t worry because they are usually not hurting you, but some problems like burning or itchy might happen.
When the blood vessels change, the condition might just cause some shin spots, but when they are becoming narrower, which is harmful, it can lead to another problem called as atherosclerosis. The blood vessels are narrower since the walls are covered with a buildup of plaque, making them thicker. The narrowing blood vessels triggering skin problems since the oxygen is decreasing. This condition can make your skin become shiny and thin. These symptoms commonly happen to the shins and this skin problem is one of the causes why those with diabetes needs more time to heal when they get wounds because the blood vessels are narrowing the white cells, the ones curing injury, are lacking so the healing process takes longer than usual.
- Yellow Bumps
People with diabetes tend to have higher level of blood glucose, but sometimes the level is just uncontrolled and it leads to another kind of skin problem called Eruptive Xanthomatosis. Diabetes type 2 happens when your body is being insulin resistant and as it happens more and more, the resistance becoming severe making the fat in your blood can’t be cleared away. The fats buildup on the blood can cause a condition known as pancreatitis where the pancreas is inflamed.
This not only affects the pancreas, but you can also see this sign on your skin with the appearing of yellow bumps looking like a pea. These bumps are firm and completed with some halos around them in red. They are commonly itchy. This problem might happen on the buttocks, the arms, the face or the extremities creases. You can treat this skin problem by lowering the fat amount in your blood.
- Fungal Infections
The fungal called Candida albicans is one of the infections causes happen to people with diabetes. This infection is happening commonly in the skin between the fingers or toes or armpits since they are moist.
The sign can be recognized by the appearing of rash in red completed with some small blisters surrounding it. For women this might happen in the vagina and in some cases this condition can be felt in the mouth’s corners with the cut feeling. These infections might need to be treated with some medicines, so talk with your doctor.
- Tighter Skin
Your hands and feet are the most common areas to be affected by diabetes and this skin problem also happens in those areas, your hands, fingers and toes. When you feel that they are becoming tighter and thicker, this can be a sign of diabetes.
This is caused by the uncontrolled blood sugar in your body making them thickening. Apply lotion to moisturized the skin will make you feel better. Don’t forget to focus on the main problem, which is the blood glucose, so control it to prevent this skin problem happening.
- Thin and Red Skin
People with diabetes can experience changes in the fat and collagen under the skin and this condition surely affects the skin appearance outside.
This condition called NLD or Necrobiosis Lipoidica Diabeticorum. The lower legs, which are also the common areas where other skin problems caused by diabetes happen, are in risk of this skin problem as well. The redness and thinning skin forms painful and itchy lesions.
You can easily spot them as they are having borders that make them different from your normal skin. They don’t need treatment unless they are breaking open because you must get some medical treatment from your doctor.
This one rarely happens, but it has a chance to happen so you need to learn how it can be recognized. Some blisters on the legs, toes, hands, fingers, forearms and feet might appear.
You don’t have to worry about these blisters. Just leave them and they can fade away.
Since this is rare, people suffering from severe diabetes are getting a higher risk of the blisters, so it is important to keep your blood glucose under control.
- Thickened Skin
People with type 2 diabetes can experience from thickened skin on the area of the upper back. This condition happens because of the high level of blood glucose. So you can keep it low while softening your thickened skin by applying lotions.
Those diabetes symptoms can be recognized when you know they are kinds of symptoms, but especially in type 2 diabetes, the symptoms are growing slowly making you don’t realize that you are having diabetes. This is why many people are diagnosed with diabetes when they are already getting high blood glucose. So if you find some symptoms above, go treat yourself naturally by eating the right foods and avoiding the wrong ones.
Worst Foods for Diabetes
Unhealthy lifestyle is one of the causes that lead to diabetes. This includes what you frequently eat. So if you used to eat just anything that you like without considering the nutrition, now it is the time for you to be more careful in choosing what you are going to eat to keep your blood glucose normal. The foods high in carbs, sugar and fats should be avoided. So here are some types of foods to eat and avoid.
- White Rice
White rice is increasing the risk of high blood sugar since it contains white flour. It has been proved in a research on 2012 that women eating white rice have increased risk around 11 percent. So it is better to limit your white rice intake and substitute it with brown rice, which is filled with whole grains packed with fiber to fight the high blood sugar. You don’t have to eat it daily; simply once or twice in a week could be a great prevention.
When you drink regular coffee without syrup or whipped cream and only add very little sugar, this could be good for your health. However, many people prefer the blended one topped with whipped cream and sweetened with a combination of sugar and syrup, which could end up with the rising blood glucose. When you order your favorite blended coffee at Starbucks, you might add 500 calories to your body along with the high fats and carbs. When you do this more than once in a week for a month or even a year, look at what you have done to your blood glucose. So if you love coffee and you just can’t leave this out of your daily or weekly consumption, go with a healthier one containing maximum 200 calories by drinking black coffee with low sugar. Don’t add fat to your coffee and leave it natural. It is better if you do some simple exercises like walking after drinking your coffee for preventing the rising blood glucose.
Who doesn’t fall in love with the sweetness of pastries? They are addicted making you crave more and more. However, eating pastries is just making your blood glucose increasing. So if you love your health more than the pastries limit your intake or leave them completely if you already suffered from diabetes. They are worst because first, they contain white floor, which is high in carbs and second they are containing a lot of sodium and fat. You can gain 800 calories by simply eating pastries and just imagine how much calories stuffed in your body when you eat them daily. You can still eat pastries, but choose the healthier one made from whole grain or brown rice. You can make your own English muffin so that later you can choose the topping your own such as peanut butter. Just make them low fat, low calories and low sodium.
- Melons and Banana
Fruits are extremely healthy and natural, but why should you avoid some types of them? Because they are containing high level of sugar such as melons and bananas. Go with fiber and vitamins rich foods and leave the sugary ones. For some people eating those fruit might not trigger to rising blood glucose, but their chance in making it rising is higher than the other types of fruit. Berries are better because they are low sugar. You don’t have to eat them in a large portion. Limit your intake by combining the fruits with the low fat and low sugar foods such as peanut butter. You also need to check it first since some people might not get the same effects by eating the same types of fruit even if all of them are suffering from the same disease, diabetes. Find out which one is good for you to help you with the treatment.
Drinking smoothies in the morning is simple and easy, but now you need to re-consider it if you drink packaged smoothies. The packaged products are given high amount of sugar that can increase your blood glucose level. You can add around 500 calories without having to drink a lot of it. Make your own smoothies is so much healthier because you can control how much sugar to add. You can also choose the types of fruits and vegetables that are low in fat to give you a healthy and tasty treat in the morning.
Cereal is actually healthy, but it depends on what kind of cereal you are consuming. If you choose the instant and sweetened one, this might not be good for your blood sugar. However when you buy cereals from the store, it is not possible for you to avoid the high sugar level from the products, so the solution is by making your own breakfast with more protein. Cook egg white to make an omelet or other kinds of your favorite foods if you have ideas and leave the egg yolk. If you love cereals, try to use the traditional oats and cook this slowly.
Just because a packaged juice is labeled as Non Sugar doesn’t mean that this is healthy for people with diabetes. You can’t just believe the label without checking directly all ingredients listed. So why don’t you just eat the whole foods instead of turning it into juice? When fruit is not turned into juice, it has concentrated sugar that can be slowly absorbed by your body making your blood sugar more controlled. This is much simpler and easier, just grab one and eat. No need to use your blender or glass.
If you are really aware of diabetes, try to live healthier by being more active and eating the right kinds of foods. These two factors can highly reduce your risk of getting diabetes. You don’t have to spend outside eating junk foods, but make your own foods at home and get some exercises.