Diabetes is not an obscure disease. Many of us already know at least one person who suffers from it. We’ve seen what it does, how it wrecks an individual’s life and warrants constant monitoring. But do we really know this disease well enough to recognise its other dubious symptoms? A fruity breath, blurry vision, wounds that won’t heal…do we normally associate these with diabetes?
High blood glucose, frequent urination and thirst are the commonly known symptoms of diabetes, but this disease manifests itself in other ways too such as –
Blurry vision – When blood sugar levels increase, these excess sugars enter into the lens of the eye. This causes surrounding fluid to follow along, making the lens swell. This condition can be reversed by bringing the glucose levels back down.
Delayed wound healing – High levels of blood sugar slows down blood circulation. Because of this, when an area is injured, components of blood necessary for closing the wound like clotting factors are hindered on their way to reach the site of injury. This delays healing of the wound. High blood glucose can also directly affect blood vessels, constricts them so less blood passes through these blood vessels.
Fruity breath – An indication of diabetic ketoacidosis, this condition occurs when insulin becomes ineffective at making use of the glucose available for producing energy. The body instead resorts to breaking down fats to form ketones, one of which is acetone that gives breath a fruity odour.
Increased appetite – Due to lack of/reduced sensitivity to insulin, glucose is not converted into energy, making the body give signals that it is deficient in calories and requires more food.
The key to treating these is getting your blood sugar levels back to normal. Getting tested by a doctor is advisable if high blood glucose is suspected. Even before diabetes completely develops, inculcating habits like healthy eating, regular exercise, managing stress and weight reduction (for those who are overweight) can help with these conditions.
Identifying the symptoms of diabetes sooner rather than later can lead to an early diagnosis, which can save a lot of pain and discomfort later. While most of our time is consumed in living our lives and hunting worldly comforts, we should never forget to listen to what makes all of it really possible – our own body.