Don’t Let Diabetes Sneak Up on You: Learn These 6 Early Signs

Aug 03, 2022
Don’t Let Diabetes Sneak Up on You: Learn These 6 Early Signs
Over 1.5 million people are diagnosed with diabetes every year. Type 2 diabetes, which can come on gradually, accounts for over 95% of these cases. Learning the early warning signs can protect your health. Here’s what you need to know.

Diabetes affects about 37 million Americans, or 11% of the population in the United States. Most people affected by this chronic disease (over 95%) have type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disorder, type 2 diabetes is an illness you acquire because of a combination of lifestyle factors and a predisposition to the condition.

When you eat, your body uses the carbohydrates in foods as energy by converting them to blood sugar (glucose) using insulin. This hormone unlocks the cells of your body so glucose can enter and be used as fuel. 

If you have diabetes, your body isn’t able to either make (type 1 diabetes) or use (type 2 diabetes) insulin properly. As a result, your blood sugar levels rise, causing many health issues. Left untreated, diabetes can diminish your cardiovascular health, impact your liver, impair kidney function, and eventually lead to coma or death.

At Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvaniaour seasoned team of medical providers offers help for patients with diabetes at our 12 convenient locations in Nuremberg, Edwardsville, Shickshinny, Wilkes-Barre, Monroe Township, Sullivan Trail Fall, Freeland, and Hazelton, Pennsylvania. 

Take a moment to learn six of the most common early signs of type 2 diabetes, and find out how we can help you manage this chronic disease to protect your long-term health.

Six early signs of type 2 diabetes 

People with type 1 diabetes often experience the onset of symptoms all at once. With type 2 diabetes, however, the onset is typically more gradual. This means it’s important to know the early signs of the disease so you can take steps to reverse it as soon as possible. Here’s a closer look:

1. You need more bathroom breaks

If you’re running to the bathroom more than you used to, it could be a sign of type 2 diabetes. This is because your kidneys keep trying to flush out the extra blood sugar you have, triggering the production of more urine. As a result, you feel the urge to urinate more often. 

2. You’re always thirsty

Since your kidneys are trying to flush out your system, causing you to head to the restroom more often, your body loses extra fluids and water. Even if you’re drinking plenty of fluids, this can leave you less than optimally hydrated. So if you’re feeling thirsty all the time or you have a very dry mouth, early-stage diabetes could be the culprit.

3. You’re always hungry

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body can’t properly use the insulin you have to store glucose. Over time, these cells don’t have enough energy to work properly, so they send a signal to your body that you need more fuel. Even when you’re eating plenty of food, this condition — called polyphagia — makes you feel like you’re always hungry.

4. You’re having trouble seeing

Diabetes can cause frequent changes in your blood sugar levels. When this happens, it affects the lenses in your eyes, making it hard for them to bend. As a result, your vision gets distorted and may seem blurry. When caught early, diabetes-related vision problems can usually be reversed. 

5. You have no energy

If you’re feeling tired, exhausted, and like you have no energy — even if you’re getting plenty of sleep at night — diabetes could be the cause. This is because with type 2 diabetes, your body struggles to use the energy provided by the foods you eat. Dehydration also contributes to this symptom. 

6. Your hands and/or feet are bothering you 

Chronically high blood sugar affects your nerves and your circulatory system. As a result, people with type 2 diabetes often develop a condition called peripheral neuropathy. This can trigger a range of different symptoms in your hands and feet, including pain, tingling, and numbness. Without timely treatment, this condition usually gets worse; in severe cases, the progressive damage it causes may lead to amputation. 

Help managing type 2 diabetes 

Keep in mind that with type 2 diabetes, these symptoms may be very mild at first. However, if you’ve noticed any of the above, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with a provider at Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

When addressed early, it’s possible to manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes. But if the disease isn’t caught before it reaches its later stages, it can cause long-term, irreversible health problems

At Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania, our providers work with you to manage your condition and improve your health outlook. 

Some people with type 2 diabetes may benefit from medication, but personalized treatment plans always involve making key lifestyle changes to manage and reverse your condition, including:

  • Tracking blood sugar levels and related numbers (e.g., A1C test)
  • Increasing physical activity and getting regular exercise
  • Making significant changes to your diet
  • Shedding excess pounds to reach a healthy body weight
  • Quitting smoking and other tobacco products
  • Staying away from alcohol and other sugar-laden drinks 

To learn more about diabetes prevention and management, schedule an appointment online or over the phone at your nearest Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania center today. We also offer home-to-center van transportation and a sliding fee schedule for patients without insurance.