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The 4 Signs You May Be Diabetic

In case you missed my Sheknows column:

When you hear the word “diabetes” you may think insulin injections, foot problems, and other symptoms that could never happen to you. Unfortunately, many Americans are diabetic or pre-diabetic and may not even know it! Studies show that up to 27% of diabetes cases go undiagnosed. Diabetes is diagnosed when your blood sugar values are elevated above specific parameters. Pre-diabetes, however, can be diagnosed in patients who have only mildly elevated blood sugars, and is becoming increasingly more common. Pre-diabetes is associated with an increased risk of developing diabetes over time. Here are four common symptoms of diabetes and how your doctor can help:

Increased thirst: If you’ve been feeling more thirsty than usual, or constantly trying to keep up with drinking fluids, your blood sugar may be out of control. If your body is having difficulty processing sugar, which happens often in diabetics, the sugar breaks down to glucose in the blood stream and draws water out of the body. Additionally, your kidneys are working overtime to keep up with the increased glucose load. This leads to feelings of increased thirst, and persistently feeling thirsty even after you have had something to drink.

Fatigue After meals: There’s no doubt, we’ve all passed out after a big meal or Thanksgiving turkey and mashed potatoes! But if you are regularly feeling sleepy after meals or find yourself dozing off at your desk after lunch, this could be an indication that your blood sugar is uncontrolled and you may be diabetic. After eating, our pancreas, an organ responsible for generating hormones, pumps out insulin to help regulate the load of glucose that is created from our meal. If you are diabetic, the body is not able to efficiently complete this process, so your blood sugar rises and then may suddenly fall, causes excessive sleepiness, fatigue, and even falling asleep unintentionally.

Hair Loss: If you’re suffering from hair loss, and see multiple strands or clumps of hair in the shower or on your bathroom floor, this could be a sign of insulin resistance. Hair loss is a classic symptom noted by many diabetics. Some studies suggest this is due to the decrease in circulation and blood flow to certain areas with hair follicles, making it harder for the hair to grow.

Numbness or Tingling in the Feet: Diabetes affects multiple systems in the body, from the heart, kidneys, and even nervous system. Nerves are often adversely affected in patients with diabetes, leading to numbness and tingling sensations. These nerve symptoms are most often felt in the feet or toes, but can present as shooting pains, or loss of sensation in the feet, calves, or shins.



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