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If You Have These Problems, You May Have Diabetes, Say Physicians

Signs that indicate you could have diabetes, according to experts. 
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Cases of diabetes are rising, especially among the youth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Diagnosed cases of type 1 and type 2 diabetes are surging among youth in the United States. From 2001 to 2017, the number of people under age 20 living with type 1 diabetes increased by 45%, and the number living with type 2 diabetes grew by 95%." Diabetes is also a leading cause of death in the United States the World Health Organization reports. "In 2019, diabetes was the ninth leading cause of death with an estimated 1.5 million deaths directly caused by diabetes." So why is there an uptick in cases? Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with experts who give their take on the situation and reveal signs of diabetes to watch out for. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Increased Frequency of Urination


Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital says, "As blood glucose rises, the body tries to eliminate it through the urine and water follows, thus increasing the frequency of urination."

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Increased Thirst

with closed eyes drinking clean mineral water close up, young woman holding glass

"As the body loses blood glucose (sugar) and water through the urine, dehydration may ensue," says Dr. Sood. 

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Blurry Vision

Tired mature woman take off glasses suffering from headache

Dr. Sood states, "The rise in glucose affects the concentration of fluid around the lens of the eye, thus changing the shape of the lens which can distort vision."

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Other Signs of Diabetes to Watch Out For

Winterizing dry itchy skin on the elbow area

Angela Ginn-Meadow RN RDN CDCES Diabetes Educator Program Director, Baltimore Metropolitan Diabetes Regional Partnership University of Maryland Medical Center says, "Other signs can be unintentional weight loss, hunger, dry or itchy skin and/ or recurrent yeast infections. And some people have no signs or symptoms."

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Why are Cases of Diabetes Rising?

Man eating pizza having a takeaway at home relaxing resting

Dr. Sood explains, "Cases of diabetes are rising likely due to the wide availability of highly processed refined foods and an overall decrease in the amount of fiber and other healthy foods consumed by people worldwide. Having a sedentary lifestyle is more common as people spend most of their leisure time engaged in activities which do not require physical movement. This is mirroring the rise in rates of obesity which further increases the risk of diabetes."

Ginn-Meadow adds, "The rise in obesity is one of the main reasons that the number of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically."

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What Lifestyle Choices Increase the Risk of Diabetes?

Obese woman laying on sofa with smartphone eating chips

According to Dr. Sood," Being sedentary and eating foods which are processed, calorie-dense and nutrient poor can predispose one to diabetes. It is also well known that people who do not have adequate sleep (i.e. shift workers and others with sleep disorders) develop diabetes at higher rates."

Ginn-Meadow explains, "It has been found that sitting 10 hours or more per day increases the risk of metabolic conditions. A metabolic condition is insulin resistance which may lead to Type 2 diabetes. A sedentary or non-active lifestyle can increase the risk of diabetes. Physical activity is a prevention method to Type 2 diabetes." 

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How Can Diabetes Affect Overall Health and Daily Life?

Woman sleeping on the couch in the living room.

Dr. Sood says, "Diabetes often involves fluctuations in blood glucose which may cause intermittent fatigue. Diabetes over time can lead to complications in organs such as the eye, kidneys, heart, brain and other systems including the nervous system. If these organs don't function well, other symptoms may ensue such as nerve pain, trouble digesting food, symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain or decreased exercise tolerance and more including poor vision or blindness."

According to Ginn-Meadow, "Uncontrolled diabetes can affect many parts of the body such as your eyes, kidneys, heart, sexual organs, brain, skin and teeth.  High blood sugar over time can cause small vessel and large vessel damage. Diabetes-related complications can impact one's quality of life. However, people can thrive with diabetes without complications." 

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​​How Can Diabetes Help be Prevented?

young woman in tan top and ponytail eating a healthy meal in front of a window
Shutterstock / Studio Romantic

Dr. Sood shares, "Diabetes can be prevented with a healthful approach to nutrition – eat a diet which is high in fiber vegetables and some fruits and that includes moderate amounts of proteins and healthy fats in small quantities. Movement is also important – walk as much as possible throughout the day during activities of daily living and exercise regularly – this may include 150-300 minutes of moderate exercise during which the heart rate is slightly elevated (i.e. a brisk walk, riding a bike, in an exercise class or on other machinery). Sleeping enough is important as well – the goal is 7-9 hours per night for adults."

Ginn-Meadow says, "The development of Type 2 diabetes has so many factors but the most common ways for prevention is maintaining a healthy weight and moving more often. The goal is to aim for at least 150 minutes of activity per week. Take activity breaks such as 10 minutes after meals or a 20-minute walk per day." And to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Heather Newgen
Heather Newgen has two decades of experience reporting and writing about health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Heather
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