It’s possible to develop Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes at any time in your life. The symptoms of either type of diabetes are the same. Once you have your diagnosis, there are many steps that you can take to reduce the damage done to your tissues and organs by diabetes.
When your body burns up the fuel from the foods you eat, it’s burning glucose. However, glucose is burned up by insulin. If your body isn’t producing insulin, or if you are insulin-resistant, your body can’t get to the glucose in your cells and you are going to be hungry more often. This hunger may be paired with dizziness, shaking, and sweating.
Glucose is energy, but only when it gets burned up. Again, if you’re not able to burn that glucose for any reason, you’re going to feel low in energy and may be sleepy at odd points in the day.
Your kidneys reabsorb glucose. If your glucose levels are higher than is healthy because insulin isn’t functioning or isn’t being produced at all, your kidneys are working hard. You will need more fluids and you will be urinating more frequently. If your urination is both urgent and more frequent than seven times a day, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Once your kidneys commandeer all that fluid, the rest of your body won’t have what it needs. You may find that your mouth is dry and has a bad taste. You may also find yourself drinking much more often than previously. If you’re already prone to dry skin, it may well get worse over time. Some people also suffer from constipation as their glucose levels go up.
When your kidneys can’t keep up, fluid levels throughout the whole body can change. You may notice blurry vision, especially early in the day, because your lenses are swollen and can’t focus. If your blood sugar is extremely high for too long, this damage can be permanent.
Those with Type 2 diabetes can develop yeast infections anywhere skin meets skin. You can grow yeast between your toes, under your breasts, or around your sex organs. If your blood sugar is high for long periods of time, you can suffer nerve damage to your extremities. This nerve damage can be dangerous. You may not be able to feel when a blister develops, and the blister can turn into a sore. Once you have a sore, the healing process will get much more difficult.
For those newly diagnosed as diabetic or pre-diabetic, there are specific actions you can take to get control of the situation. A simple step is to add exercise to your routine. If you’re already exercising, try adding another session of activity. Exercise moves glucose from your blood into your cells where it can be burned up.
Talk with your doctor about the best way to start exercising. If you have problems with your feet, you may need to start on an arm-bike or in the pool. If you have sore joints, consider using a recumbent bike to get your joints moving without excess pressure.
While planning your exercise routine additions, make sure you incorporate activity that can help increase your flexibility. Getting flexible and strong enough that you can take a good look at the bottoms of your feet can help you find small cuts, bruising or other damage before it becomes dangerous.
Another way to take control of the situation is to alter your diet. Avoid getting into all-or-nothing thinking as this will simply lead to failure. Instead, focus on what you should eat every day and save up your treats for special days. Consider also making some swaps, such as swapping out nuts for chips.
Healthy carbs, such who whole oats, brown rice, and quinoa, are a good addition. Lean proteins, particularly fish, are a healthy choice. Try to include raw veggies and fruits with every meal with the ultimate goal of making your plate half veggies, either raw or steamed. Low-fat dairy and avocadoes can add a creamy quality to treat your taste buds.
As possible, turn less-than-healthy choices into treats. If you love french fries, you may be able to still enjoy them one day a week. Foods that are high in salt and sugar also need to be treated as treats. Beef and other high-fat meats should be reduced to protect your organs long term. High-fat dairy products will also need to be consumed only occasionally.
Finally, if you smoke, now is the time to do what it takes to stop. Because smoking and diabetes both increase your risk of heart disease, each cigarette does even more damage. Talk to your doctor about tools that can help you break this challenging addiction.
Focus on improving your circulation. Exercise can help this, but if you have swelling (especially in your extremities) then using compression clothing can help. You can find diabetic socks for sale or other compression gear in a variety of places.