The tell-tale definition of diabetes is high blood sugars, which can be confirmed with a blood test or finger-prick device. For those who haven’t been diagnosed with the condition, how can you tell if you’ve got it?
One of the earliest warning signs of diabetes is feeling “abnormally thirsty”.
Medically known as polydipsia, the charity Diabetes UK added that the symptom is usually accompanied by “dryness of mouth”.
This type of thirst isn’t quenched by drinking a glass of water. In fact, no matter how much you drink, you still feel thirsty.
Bear in mind the bladder – considered a storage tank for urine – can comfortably contain 500ml of wee.
The NHS Trust commented that “the bladder should be emptied three to four hourly”, meaning every four hours in a day.
People are recommended to drink between up to two litres every day, so doing the maths, four toilet trips in a day should be considered normal.
Those who suffer from diabetes are unable to effectively transport sugar from the blood into the cells.
Sugar (i.e. glucose) is an energy source for the body’s cells, but in diabetes, the cells aren’t able to absorb the sugar.
As sugar keeps mounting in the bloodstream, instead of the cells, polyphagia can occur.
Polyphagia is the feeling of intense hunger, as the body craves an energy source.
Simply eating will not satisfy feelings of polyphagia, as this will just increase blood sugar levels.
Sugar is sourced from the foods you eat, so eating will worsen symptoms.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, do book an appointment with your GP to get your blood sugar levels tested.
Other symptoms of the condition include fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision and slow-healing wounds.
Understandably, fatigue can occur as the body tires from not being able to use its energy source.
To recognise fatigue, it’ll feel as though you’re lacking in energy and you may find it difficult to carry out simple everyday tasks.
Feelings of dizziness may occur as the body becomes dehydrated and the brain struggles to function properly – this can show up as lightheadedness.
Diabetes can cause the lens inside your eye to swell, affecting your vision – this can lead to temporary blurring of eyesight.
Slow-healing wounds can occur as diabetes affects the nerves, leading to poor circulation – and blood is vital in healing wounds.