Today, we look at the top symptoms of diabetes-and one symptom in particular that regularly goes unnoticed by doctors and patients alike.
As always, this video is educational and does not constitute medical advice; we are not doctors.
Over 37 million Americans are living with diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.
In fact, most people don’t find out they have type 2 diabetes until they experience health complications from long-term damage caused by the disease.
These health complications include heart disease, cancer, nerve damage, fatty liver, blindness, and more.
Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for years because the warning signs can be so mild that you don’t notice them. This is especially true in its earliest stages.
The warning signs of type 2 diabetes include:
- frequent urination, often at night
- increased thirst and hunger
- unexpected weight loss
- Lack of sharpness of vision or blurry vision
- numbness or tingling in feet and hands
- dry, itchy skin and dark patches on skin (acanthosis nigricans)
- wounds that heal slowly
- repeated infections, including yeast infection
And the one symptom that most often gets overlooked is fatigue.
There are so many reasons you may feel fatigued, like overworking, stress, not getting enough sleep, depression or other mood disorders.
Most people who experience fatigue wouldn’t think that it’s caused by diabetes. So it’s easy to see why it’s often ignored.
But there is a way to tell whether your fatigue is due to diabetes or if it’s caused by something else.
While fatigue experienced at any time may indicate a blood sugar imbalance, fatigue after a meal is highly suggestive of diabetes.
This symptom is also known as postprandial somnolence.
If you always feel tired and sleepy after a meal, despite getting sufficient sleep at night, get tested for diabetes.
If you notice more than one of these symptoms, you’ll want to get your blood sugar levels tested. The sooner you have a diagnosis, the sooner you can manage your blood sugar.
Next, how does eating too much sugar cause fatigue?
When your body detects high amounts of glucose or sugar molecules in the blood after eating a meal, it releases insulin from your pancreas.
Insulin is a hormone that allows your cells to absorb glucose present in the blood, to either convert it into energy or store it as fat for later.
The rate at which all of this happens depends on how fast your blood sugar levels rise.
Complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables and whole grains, take longer for your body to break down.
This allows glucose to be released into your blood more slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar followed later by a gradual fall.
But when you drink fruit juice or eat highly processed foods, the complete opposite happens.
These foods are quickly broken down and cause a large amount of glucose to enter your blood all at once.
There is a higher spike in blood sugar, which is then followed by an even more drastic fall, sometimes called a sugar crash.
The best way to prevent blood sugar spikes is to limit or remove sugary or highly processed foods from your diet.
If you’re just starting out, here’s a list of foods you should remove or gradually phase out of your diet in order of importance:
1. Soft drinks. A single 12-ounce (355-mL) can of soda contains as much as 8 teaspoons of sugar.
2. Fruit juices. Fruit juices contain the same amount of sugar as soft drinks. Choose whole fruit or canned fruit with no additional sweetening instead.
3. Candies and sweets. Try to limit your consumption of sweets.
4. Baked goods. These include cookies, cakes, and pies, among other pastries. They tend to be very high in sugar and refined carbohydrates.
5. Low-fat or diet foods. Foods with the fat removed from them are often very high in sugar to make up for the lack of flavor.
6. Drink water instead of soda or juices and don’t add sugar to your coffee or tea.
7. Stop using sugar in your recipes. Instead, use herbs and spices for flavoring like cinnamon, nutmeg, almond extract, vanilla, ginger, or even lemon.
And if you haven’t already started being more active, try to exercise more often. You don’t have to do one-hour workouts if you’re just starting out.
Something as simple as taking a 15-minute walk daily can make a big difference.
See our video on the symptoms and treatment of prediabetes.
If you enjoyed this video, Like, Share, and Subscribe, and click on the bell icon, so you never miss a video!
And now, over to you: Do you experience fatigue after each meal? When was the last time you had your blood sugar levels checked?
Leave your comments below. We’d love to hear from you.
And click the link below to get your free anti-inflammatory diet plan.