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Diabetes

Learn about a host of diabetes-related topics such as how many Americans suffer from this disease to how to easily adjust to a new diet after diagnoses. This section will provide you with the information you need to make informed dietary decisions regarding diabetes.

6 Diabetic Signs and Symptoms

Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly utilize food, carbohydrates in particular, for energy use. Beyond high blood sugar itself, these six common diabetic symptoms may signify a diagnosis or poor diabetes management.

6 Diabetic Signs and Symptoms


Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not properly utilize food, carbohydrates in particular, for energy use. It is characterized by high blood sugar or glucose, which is predominately a consequence of the insufficient use or absence of insulin. Produced by the pancreas, insulin is responsible for assisting glucose entry from the bloodstream into cells following carbohydrate ingestion. So when insulin is ineffective or absent, glucose remains in the blood and causes high blood glucose. But beyond high blood sugar itself, these six common diabetic symptoms may signify a diagnosis or poor diabetes management.

6 Diabetes Signs and Symptoms

1. Lack of Energy
Glucose is the body's primary fuel source and when it is absent, individuals may experience fatigue and a total lack of energy. Additionally, high blood sugar can increase the viscosity of the blood, slowing down the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the cells.

2. Weight Changes
Weight changes and fluctuations are common symptom of diabetes. Though more common in type 1 over type 2 diabetes, individuals may experience unintentional weight loss, as the glucose remains in the blood rather than taken up by cells. When cells are deprived of glucose, muscle and fat tissues are also likely to be broken down for energy. Conversely, deprived cells may be seeking out energy in the form of food, intensifying hunger and increasing the risk of weight gain.

3. Excessive Thirst and Urination
Excessive thirst (also called polydipsia) and increased urination (also known as polyuria) are classic diabetes symptoms. When cells are not receiving glucose and it remains in the blood, the kidneys are kicked into overdrive to filter and absorb the excess sugar. If the kidneys are unable to keep up with the demand, excess sugar is released into the urine and drags along fluids from other tissues. The cycle is vicious, as with frequented urination comes the risk of dehydration and seeking out more fluids, which may cause you to urinate more.

4. Increased Infections and Healing Times
Though the reason behind such increased infections and healing times remains unclear, researchers speculate high levels of sugar in the blood impairs the body's natural healing process and ability to fight infection. Nonetheless, individuals with diabetes tend to experience more frequent gum diseases, while women find it especially difficult to recover from bladder and vaginal infections.

5. Tingling and Burning Sensations
Clinically known as diabetic or peripheral neuropathy, nerve damage can be a consequence of excess sugar in the blood and lead to nerve damage. Individuals may experience tingling and burning sensations in the feet, legs, arms, and hands. Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy often worsen overnight and may cause numbness or a reduced ability to feel pain or temperature changes.

6. Blurred Vision
Experiencing blurred vision? Don't head to the optometrist just yet... Elevated blood sugars can cause blurred vision by affecting the tissue from eye lenses and compromising the ability to focus.

Diagnosing and Managing Diabetes

If you experience any of the noted signs and symptoms of diabetes, schedule a doctor visit right away. From there, blood tests are commonly used to detect diabetes (if not already diagnosed), including a fasting plasma glucose test greater than 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), oral glucose tolerance test greater than 200 mg/dL, and hemoglobin A1C of 6.5% or greater on two separate occasions.

Following a diabetes diagnosis, healthcare providers assist in developing a care plan to meet individualized needs. Particularly if considered overweight or obese, weight loss is largely recommended. In fact, losing weight can even reverse diabetes and lessen the need for medication later down the road. Individuals are encouraged to consume a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, manage stress, and obtain adequate sleep on a regular basis to assist in both diabetes and weight management.

If seeking further assistance in weight loss and blood glucose control, look no further than bistroMD. Founding physician Dr. Caroline Cederquist is board certified in the field of weight loss and committed to supply consumers with meals scientifically designed to grant healthy weight loss. Registered Dietitians further ensure the nutritional adequacy of meals, ultimately comprising 1,100-1,400 calories daily with 40 to 50 percent total caloric intake from lean, adequate protein, 20 to 25 percent of calories from healthy fats, and 30 to 35 percent from complex carbohydrates. So whether time is crunched or simply desiring easier, diabetic-friendly, and tasty meals, bistroMD has you covered! For more information on bistroMD and their diabetic meal options, visit their official website by clicking here!

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