Diabetes is a widespread problem in the modern world. In 2018, one out of every ten Americans had a diagnosis of diabetes. Those numbers continue to climb, even affecting children and adolescents at a growing rate. Diabetes is closely linked with cardiovascular disease, as both have similar root causes and signs.
With early diagnosis, you can prevent the progression and even treat diabetes naturally – no pharmaceuticals necessary. Diabetes often begins as a vague combination of symptoms and signs, and it may go undiagnosed until serious complications occur. This is why it’s so important to know what to look out for.
What is diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90-95 percent of all diabetes cases. This condition occurs when the body isn’t able to use insulin properly.
Insulin is responsible for helping your cells convert glucose into energy. Because insulin impairs the ability to move glucose into the cells, it causes the buildup of sugar in the bloodstream. As a result, blood sugar can skyrocket and is often difficult to control.
While some individuals may have a genetic risk, type 2 diabetes is usually a product of obesity, poor diet, vitamin deficiencies, and a sedentary lifestyle. Like cardiovascular disease, diabetes can be prevented and treated with lifestyle changes.
Many conventional doctors may prescribe insulin therapy or medication to help stabilize blood sugar. This will not address the root cause and is not a real solution. Diet and lifestyle changes are necessary to reverse the progression of diabetes.
If left untreated, chronically high blood sugar levels can lead to life-threatening complications. Some of these include:
- Impaired vision or blindness, also known as diabetic retinopathy
- Nerve damage or dysfunction, also known as neuropathy
- Kidney dysfunction, which can ultimately lead to end-stage renal disease
- Cardiovascular complications, including high blood pressure, heart failure, and heart attacks
- Higher risk for infections, as well as increased severity of infections
Common signs of type 2 diabetes
It’s important to get blood sugar under control as early as possible to prevent serious complications. However, symptoms may be subtle, and it is often easy to miss diabetes. It’s estimated that around 21 percent of cases in the U.S. are undiagnosed. Look out for these common signs and make an appointment with your doctor if you suspect you have diabetes.
Fatigue and exhaustion could indicate diabetes
With increased insulin resistance, sugar cannot enter the cells of the body to create energy. This can lead to extreme fatigue, as your body can’t convert food into fuel. Diabetes is also linked with chronic inflammation, hypothyroidism, and depression, further contributing to fatigue.
Mood swings & depression are diabetes warning signs
You’re probably familiar with the grumpy feeling that comes when your blood sugar crashes. Unstable blood sugar levels often come with untreated diabetes, causing mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Mental health may also be affected by diabetes-related hormonal dysregulation and inflammation. The prevalence of depression is nearly twice as high in people with type 2 diabetes than in those without this condition.
Frequent urination could mean diabetes
Heading to the bathroom more often could be a sign of diabetes. This is often most noticeable if you wake up frequently to use the restroom at night. When your body cannot move glucose into the cells, higher amounts remain in the bloodstream. As a result, the kidneys send extra fluid into the blood to help dilute and flush it out through the urine.
Excessive thirst is a sign of diabetes
Fluid is pulled out of your body’s tissues and sent into the bloodstream to dilute high blood sugar levels, which can lead to mild dehydration and cause excessive feelings of thirst. As a result, you may find yourself needing to hydrate more often — further worsening the problem of frequent urination.
Excessive hunger & sugar cravings might mean diabetes
Because sugar can’t move into the cells as effectively, your body has less sugar to use. In response, your body will have increased hunger signals. You may find yourself eating more sugary foods, causing a spike and crash in blood sugar and keeping you stuck in a vicious cycle of sugar cravings.
Numbness and nerve-tingling is a diabetes sign
Excess sugar in the bloodstream can cause damage to your nerve fibers, resulting in numbness and nerve-tingling. In people with diabetes, this occurs most often in the legs and feet. Nerve damage can lead to other related problems such as infection, sexual dysfunction, joint damage, and poor control of urination. If you have diabetes, you should have your feet checked once per year for signs of neuropathy.
Blurry vision could be from uncontrolled blood sugar
High blood glucose may cause the lens in your eyes to swell and cause blurry vision. This symptom usually resolves once your blood sugar is under control again. However, if blood sugar remains uncontrolled over a long period, it may lead to long-term damage to the retinas. This complication is called diabetic retinopathy and can eventually lead to blindness in extreme cases.
Unexplained weight loss and diabetes
It may seem counterintuitive that diabetes can lead to weight loss, as obesity is such a substantial underlying risk factor. But this isn’t a healthy kind of weight loss. When your body can’t use glucose for fuel, it goes into starvation mode, burning muscle and fat stores for energy. This can lead to rapid unexplained weight loss.
Slow healing of cuts and bruises could mean diabetes
Elevated blood sugar can cause chronic low-grade inflammation and prevent your immune system from functioning properly. Because of this, there are fewer immunological resources to help repair the site of an injury. Cuts, bruises, and scrapes may take much longer than expected to heal.
Frequent & severe infections indicate impaired immune system
Because of the way diabetes impairs the immune system, you may be more prone to infections and less able to fight them off. People with diabetes are often more vulnerable to the flu, pneumonia, and Covid-19. Research shows that those with diabetes and Covid-19 have a higher rate of hospitalization, pneumonia, and mortality when compared to people without diabetes.
The link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease
Diabetes is closely linked with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In fact, over two-thirds of people diagnosed with diabetes also have high blood pressure, as these two conditions can feed into and interplay with each other.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the primary causes of death in prediabetes and type 2 diabetes cases. If you’re trying to get your diabetes under control, it’s so important to make sure you’re also keeping your heart healthy.
The good news is that both diabetes and cardiovascular disease have many similar underlying risk factors and root causes. At Natural Heart Doctor, we’re familiar with treating pre-diabetic and diabetic patients without the help of Big Pharma. The most effective way to prevent and reverse these conditions is by targeting the root causes.
To start, get your diet right, exercise, go out in the sun, and keep stress low. Testing and targeted supplementation may be necessary in some cases. A diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes doesn’t mean a life sentence on pharmaceuticals. Get in touch, we can help!
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Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD