Unlike some conditions that make their presence known, diabetes can often behave more like a thief in the night — unless you know what to look for.
Approximately 37.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, but at least 8.5 million aren’t diagnosed. What’s worse is that 2.5% of those diagnosed aren’t getting the treatment they need.
That means millions of people walking around with potentially serious diabetes complications looming overhead.
We want to change that.
Dr. Michael Skardasis and our team at Optimal Performance Medicine are on a mission to educate (and perhaps in some cases re-educate) folks just like you on what they’re up against when it comes to diabetes.
Here, we highlight four of the most common warning signs that your diabetes is getting away from you.
1. You urinate frequently
Without diabetes, you can expect to release around 1-3 quarts of urine daily. Diabetes that’s progressing may cause you to release upwards of 20 quarts a day.
This frustrating problem happens because your body is working overtime to flush out excess sugar. Diabetes also makes you more thirsty, and increased fluids contribute to your extra trips to the restroom.
2. You keep getting infections
High blood sugar levels often make getting an infection a matter of when, not if, because sugar-saturated blood weakens your immune system, leaving your defenses down. Some of the most common infections include:
- Urinary tract infections
- Gastrointestinal infections
- Respiratory tract infections, such as the flu
- Yeast infections
Diabetes may also cause peripheral nerve damage, which reduces sensation in your extremities and increases your chance of not realizing you have an infection. So, we recommend you check your feet regularly for skin changes and get help right away if you notice an infection.
3. You’re always thirsty
Diabetic dehydration is a tricky complication because it often accompanies a serious, potentially life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
DKA occurs when your body can’t use glucose for energy and turns instead to fat. This process produces ketones, which can make your blood too acidic. The results of DKA can include dizziness, confusion, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and in the worst cases, a diabetic coma.
Dehydration is a common diabetic dilemma because high blood sugar levels prohibit your ability to absorb water. You may experience an overwhelming need for water, a chronically dry mouth, and/or dizziness.
4. Your appetite increases, but your weight doesn’t
Your body gets its energy from glucose from the food you eat. When it can’t properly use and absorb glucose in your bloodstream, it tells you you’re hungry in an attempt to gain access to fuel. With uncontrolled diabetes, you may eat more than unusual, but your hunger is never satisfied, and your weight doesn’t increase.
There is definitely a link between obesity and diabetes, but if you have difficulty managing your diabetes, you may not gain weight even if you’re overeating. In fact, difficulty absorbing glucose can even lead to weight loss.
How did my diabetes get out of control?
You’ve changed your diet, you never forget to check your blood sugar, and you haven’t missed a check-up — you’ve done everything in your power to keep your health in check. Why, then, are you faced with the fact that your diabetes is progressing?
First, you must understand that diabetes in and of itself is a progressive condition — your first steps in managing it may not be effective forever. Decades of research have not uncovered why some can manage their diabetes easily and others struggle despite their best efforts. One of the leading theories is that genetics plays a role in how well you can control your diabetes.
Whatever’s causing your struggle against diabetes, we want to help.
Often, the best way to get back on track is to adjust your treatment plan. We know that diabetes isn’t a static condition, so we take a multifaceted approach to diabetes and work closely with you to help you improve your health from all angles.
Ready to take back your health? We’d love to talk with you. To schedule an appointment, call our friendly staff at 678-250-0700 or use our online booking tool.