The food we eat is converted
(suger) which is used by our bodies for energy. The pancreas
makes a hormone called insulin
which helps cells assimulate glucose. Glucose and insulin are circulated
to all parts of our body within our blood. When you have diabetes,
your cells can't get enough glucose; this occurs either because
your body doesn't have enough insulin or it can't use insulin very
well because your cells have built up a resistance
to insulin. This problem results in excessive glucose in your
blood which causes premature
aging of your cardiovascular system, kidneys, eyes, and immune
system. This premature aging leads to what are called diabetic complications
which include heart and kidney disease, stroke, poor circulation,
difficulty walking or exercising, vision and nerve damage; all of
which get worse with poor blood glucose control, stress, and increasing
age and obesity.
Overall, treating diabetes
involves controlling your diet,
exercising, managing your
response to stress, monitoring
your blood glucose to avoid low
and high levels, monitoring
your blood pressure,
and initiating other regular tests
to check on how well your diabetes is being controlled.
symptoms of diabetes...
- Unusual thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme fatigue and weakness
- Blurred vision
- Abdominal pains
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Skin infections
- Fluid retention (especially
in legs and feet)
- Poor healing of skin wounds
- Decreased tolerance to cold
- Chronic itching
- Irregular or rapid heart
- Dry scaly skin
- Numbness or tingling of
fingers and toes
- Extreme hunger pangs
- Hot and sweaty with clammy
- Heart tremors and palpitations
- Apprehensive with no obvious
- Shaky and nervous
- Disoriented, confused, inability
- Frequent headaches, dizziness
- Mood changes, irritability
of common diabetic symptoms...
symptoms are related to chronically high levels of glucose in
the blood, which causes the premature aging of all body parts. So
all diabetic symptoms can be explained in terms of what happens
to the body as it ages. The branch of science that studies the aging
process is called Gerontology
and much of what happens to people with uncontrolled diabetes can
be explained therein. I certainly don't know what causes the symptoms
of diabetes in detail, I simply don't have the medical training;
but I can give a brief overview of my layman understanding of what
the causes are of some of the common symptoms.
|Thirst and frequent
kidneys filter out unused glucose from your blood; excessive
levels spill into the urine taking water with it, hence the
need to drink and urinate more.
fatigue and weight loss
hunger, fatigue and weight loss are
all related to the same cause: body cells need energy to function,
energy is provided by glucose metabolized from the food we eat
and circulated to our cells in our blood. Insulin is needed
by cells to enable the entry of glucose. In type 1 diabetes,
the body simply doesn't produce insulin, so glucose can't get
into cells; in type 2 diabetes, enough insulin is being produced
(at least initially) but cells have developed a resistance to
insulin, so again not enough glucose gets into cells. This results
in feelings of hunger and fatigue, even though enough food is
being eaten, because body cells simply are not getting any energy;
weight loss is also a direct result of the lack of cell nutrition.
brain needs a constant supply of energy, if brain cells don't
receive enough energy, we become tired; most tired people tend
to be less tolerant and more irritable!
skin cells require gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) which our body
makes via a complex metabolic process. In older people and diabetics,
this process is impaired and not enough GLA is produced; this
results is chronic, severely dry and itchy skin. This condition
is aggravated by soaps, detergents, hot baths, and environmental
conditions; it is usually worse during the winter months and
most commonly affects legs, feet, and hands but can affect all
areas of the body.
vision is a sign of diabetic retinopathy that affects all diabetics.
It is frequently one of the first signs of diabetes. Again the
culprit is high levels of glucose within the blood; chronically
high levels of glucose damage blood vessels in different organs
of the body, usually starting with the retina of the eye and
the kidneys; eventually some blood vessels are lost and remaining
ones become "leaky" which allow blood and fat to seep
out of damaged blood vessels. This makes the retina bleed and
swell which causes blurry vision
pain in the feet
pain in the feet is usually the first sign of diabetic neuropathy
which is the degeneration of peripheral nerve fibers throughout
the body which commonly leads to a lack of feeling in the feet,
advances up the legs and then the hands and is the most common
reason for lower limb amputations. It can also be very painful.
Loss of motor nerve fibers cause muscular weakness. Loss of
sensory nerve fibers can cause loss of feeling. Loss of autonomic
fibers cause the loss of functions not normally under conscious
control like digestion, heartbeat, blood pressure, and sweating.
Neuropathy symptoms like prickling, tingling, burning, aching,
or sharp jabs of needlelike pain can also be caused by nerves
that are damaged or are healing. We don't know what causes diabetic
neuropathy, but chronically high blood glucose levels seem to
play a major role.
to do next...
If you have any of the symptoms
mentioned above, a family history of diabetes, or are aged 45 or
above, contact your doctor or healthcare professional and initiate
tests for diabetes.