Do I Have Diabetes? Know the Warning Signs
January 16, 2020
Diabetes is a serious, yet common medical condition. If you have diabetes, you need to manage your blood sugars and regularly monitor them to be sure they are within their target range.
You may have sudden symptoms of diabetes, or a diagnosis may surprise you because the symptoms have been gradual over many months or years.
Warning signs of diabetes
Diabetes symptoms may occur over time or they may appear quickly. The various types of diabetes may have similar or different warning signs. Some general warning signs of diabetes are:
Other warning signs of type 1
Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children and young adults, though it can occur at any age. A child may experience these additional symptoms:
Flu-like symptoms are caused when undiagnosed diabetes causes ketones to build up in the bloodstream. This condition is called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical treatment.
Other warning signs of type 2
You may not notice sudden symptoms of type 2 diabetes, but the warning signs listed above may alert you to an underlying condition. You may be diagnosed with diabetes because you go to the doctor for:
You may never experience obvious warning signs at all. Diabetes can develop over the course of many years and the warning signs may be subtle.
Who is at risk for diabetes?
Diabetes can occur at any time. There are certain risk factors for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. This is not an exhaustive list, and even adults can end up with type 1 diabetes, though it is infrequent.
Who is at risk
• those over age 45
You may experience one or more of the warning signs associated with diabetes. If you do, contact your doctor for an appointment.
You may also discover a diabetes diagnosis after visiting the doctor for another condition or for routine blood work.
If you suspect you may have diabetes, make an appointment with your doctor. They will want to know:
You should also have a list of questions to ask your doctor regarding your warning signs or the condition itself.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and may decide to run some tests.
There are several tests to diagnose diabetes:
Diabetes can be treated in several ways. Diet, physical activity, and careful monitoring are important if you have diabetes, no matter which type of diabetes you have.
If you have type 1 diabetes, you will need to take insulin for the rest of your life. That’s because your body doesn’t produce insulin.
If you have type 2 diabetes, if may be possible to control your condition with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. You may also need to take oral or injectable medications, including insulin or metformin, to manage your blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes, you will need to carefully track you diet to prevent blood sugar levels from getting too high. This generally means watching carbohydrate intake as well as limiting over-processed, low-fiber foods.
Your doctor will work with you to develop a treatment plan to help you control your blood sugar levels.
Talk to your doctor if you believe you have diabetes. Getting on top of your condition and managing it effectively is key to controlling your symptoms and preventing more serious health problems.
If you have type 1 diabetes you’ll need to manage your glucose levels by matching your insulin to your diet and activity. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may manage your blood sugars with diet and activity alone, or add medications as needed.
Diabetes is a progressive disease that may require re-evaluation and change in the treatment plan over time.
Diabetes may not be prevented in all cases. Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented. You may be able to reduce your chances for developing type 2 diabetes by managing your diet and staying active. However, genetics and other risk factors may increase your risk despite your best effort.
Even if you have a diagnosis of diabetes, you can live a full life. Diabetes requires careful planning and management, but it shouldn’t prevent you from engaging in and enjoying everyday activities.