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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Diabetes Health 5 Signs, Symptoms and Glaring Neon Lights

There are some illnesses that can be deemed "silent" when it comes to symptomology. High blood pressure, sickle cell anemia and some forms of cancer can (and often does) lie quietly in the body giving a rare clue to it's presence. For many years diabetes was thought to be amongst these "silent sicknesses", however, depending on your awareness of your own body, you can identify signs, symptoms and risks of developing diabetes. Three caveats before I continue:
1. I'm not a doctor (and I don't play one on TV).
2. Although diabetes and general bad health is FAR from funny...there will be jokes.
3. Listen to your body when well and ill...and take it's here for as long as you are.

If your mama/pappy, grandmama/grandpappy and great grandmama/grandpappy are currently comparing glucose levels as often as sharing coupons, playing spades or watching their "stories", you're at risk. There's no two ways about it, they've probably passed on the gene, recipes and sedentary lifestyle that can accompany "the sugar". So what is it? Type 1 and 2 Diabetes are progressive. Most people (though not all) develop Type 1 diabetes which manifests itself through the body's failure to produce insulin which causes high levels of glucose in the body. Glucose is essentially the fuel for our body's cells. A lack of insulin results in an the body's inability to efficiently use it's fuel. Think of it this way...How would your car react if gasoline was filtered through it's battery instead of it's engine? Exactly. Your body responds similarly...
Look for these 5 symptom, signs and big flashing lights...

1. Sudden, unexplained weight loss/gain. This symptom is typically hard to swallow (no pun intended) due to our culturally skewed body image. Anecdote time: A couple of years ago, I experienced some SIGNIFICANT weight loss. I'm talking, pants fit my waist fine one week, two weeks later I bought a belt to keep these same pants on my significant and quite stunning hips. I sent out a "Good Vibes APB" to my nearest and dearest consisting of the following conversation:
Me: I need a BELT!
GV~APB Network: You SURE do! *insert lascivious laughter from my homegirls*
Me: NOOOOO, pants don't fit! They're falling off!!!!
GV~APB Network: Quit braggin'!

Do you see my point? Despite the immediate and noticeable weight loss (with ABSOLUTELY NO change to my diet), few people within my inner circle understood my concern and subsequent "emergency" doctor's appointment. This suddent weight loss is NOT a good thing (I point this out because people tend to ignore it as a symptom...).

2. Frequent trips to the restroom. Granted, if you're there to gaze, longingly into the mirror at your reflection, your problem veers into the narcissism realm. However, frequent trips to tinkle is a sign that your kidneys are lacking the appropriate amount of insulin to effectively filter glucose back into the blood. Essentially, your blood is being deprived of liquids and you're forced to visit the loo more than ever before. Accompanying this symptom is the following:

3. Extraordinary thirst. I'll admit that in Houston, you should be thirsty! With any common sense, you're consuming water throughout the day (and moreso if you work outside.). Extraordinary thirst is set apart by the inability to satiate one's self and an inability to use the water consumed to prevent dehydration. Remember, your body is trying to pull all available resources to feed and hydrate starved cells. Revisiting the car analogy, if your gas line has an ever increasing hole...putting more gas in, doesn't guarantee energy or propulsion. Also associated with this symptom are all the typical effects of dehydration: chapped lips, dry, itchy skin, brittle hair and cuts that take a long time to heal. When the body is lacking fluids, it becomes less resilient. Also note one final thing on this topic: If you're lips are already chapped or your skin dry enough to mark with a simple rake of your nails then you're ALREADY dehydrated! Frequent use of lotion, lip balm, etc are dead (skin) give aways of dehydration.

4. Fatigue. Now, I wouldn't rush off to the doctor's office if my day involves all of the following:  Late nights, early mornings, 3 hour exercise routines, a full time job, toddlers, volunteer work, AND running a marathon. That's not fatigue, that's your personal Superman/woman cape running away from home to take a break! If however, you've noticed increases in your desire to sleep or rest with little or no change to your daily activities, then we have a problem. Again, societally, this is something we fail to recognize because of this recent push towards, multi~tasking, "never say die" hustle~ism mentality that infects us like the plague. Somehow, the notion of working an 8 hour day got replaced with doing "everything including shop til we drop" and our bodies are suffering. Again (and it really can't be said enough...) take an ACCURATE inventory of your body. Listen to it, rest when necessary...the world will be here when you get back.

5. Tingling in the extremeties. When your arms, legs, fingers and toes are afflicted with a sudden tingling or burning sensation without warning, it's called neuropathy. Neuropathy is nerve damage, pure and simple, which occurs after years long high blood sugar. Frequently, individuals with prolonged high blood sugar report an inability to accurately read body temperature and a "pins and needle" feeling of their feet and hands. In worst case scenarios, these body parts become completely disabled and result in amputation.

In the early 90's I was diagnosed with gestational/Type 1 diabetes. My OB/GYN diagnosed me with my first pregnancy and I slid face first into panic mode. After all, my mother, grandmother, brother and several adjacent family members were already pricking fingers, evidencing bruising that didn't fade and on various medications. I hate pills, needles and bruises are not conducive to my sexy. I gave birth to my Sun and quickly moved to make the necessary changes to remedy my tingly hands, dehydration and excessive fatigue. It didn't take much. I kissed the BlueBell icecream goodbye for a bit, banished both processed flour and the "fry daddy", limited the processed foods and committed to a slow 1 mile walk per day.

My routine didn't change much...but my life did.


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  2. As soon as you get to know about the diabetes and detect the Signs and symptoms of diabetes, you should start taking the balance diet and regularly visit the physician so as to prevent the further damage.

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