Diabetes is a condition that causes a sufferer’s blood sugar to reach dangerous levels. This happens due to the pancreas’s inability to produce insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
The reason for insufficient insulin production varies between the two forms of diabetes:
- In type 1 diabetes, the person’s immune system attacks and kills the cells that produce insulin.
- In type 2 diabetes, the body does not produce enough insulin hormone, or, the person’s cells are not reactive to insulin.
The risk of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes increases with age. If you have ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack, a stroke, mental illnesses, or polycystic ovaries, you should be extra wary of the symptoms of diabetes. The risk is also higher in people who are overweight or carrying a lot of weight around the middle, white people over 40, and in South Asian, Black African and African-Caribbean people.
Many diabetes symptoms are caused by factors relating to age – people are much more likely to suffer from diabetes risk factors the older they get. However, a lot of the condition’s symptoms are just associated with the natural ageing process. If you’re worried about diabetes, there are many prediabetes symptoms & treatments you be aware of as you age.
1. Needing to urinate more
The need to urinate a lot could be a sign that a person is diabetic. This condition is called polyuria and is defined by a person passing over 3 litres of urine per day. A non-diabetic adult will usually urinate between 1-2 litres. This is a serious problem that can lead to dehydration and potentially cause kidney damage. If you’re worried about your frequency of urination, consult with your doctor.
2. Being overweight
A person being overweight isn’t so much a symptom of diabetes but is a leading cause. For this reason, watching your weight as you get older is very important. It is common for older people’s weight to creep up as they become less active due to illness, aches and pains; but it is recommended that you should remain as active as you can. Taking walks, doing some gentle resistance training, and exercises that help with balance all help people to stay active as they age and prevent falls. Exercises to build strength and flexibility are both very helpful for maintaining mobility.
3. Unexplained weight loss
Even though being overweight increases the risk of diabetes, a symptom is unexplained, rapid weight loss. This means that if you are typically overweight but have recently and unusually lost weight without trying, you could be suffering from diabetes. This doesn’t only affect overweight people – if you have recently lost weight unexpectedly and are experiencing more diabetes symptoms, it’s recommended that you get medically checked.
4. Fatigue, lethargy, & tiredness
Feeling weak and fatigued can be a sign of diabetes. This is the result of blood glucose levels being too high or too low, and your body having difficulty processing it. Feeling lethargic after meals is often a symptom of diabetes – but as we all know, this can simply happen when non-diabetic people eat a lot too! The signs of the condition are vague; but if you are older, overweight, or have increased risk due to your heritage, a visit to the doctor to check for diabetes or other underlying causes is a good idea.
5. Blurry vision
Most people’s vision deteriorates in some way as they get older, but this is also a sign that you may be diabetic. ‘Blurry’ vision is most often defined as a lack of sharpness of vision or being unable to see fine details. Having high or low blood sugar can temporarily cause vision to become blurry and then return to normal. Whether this happens frequently or not, the problem should be quickly addressed in case it is related to diabetes or another form of eye disease. Go to a doctor or optician if you’re suffering from blurred vision.
6. Numb or tingling hands and feet
Diabetic nerve pain occurs most commonly in the limb extremities. Poor control of blood sugar levels can result in a tingling sensation or numbness in the hands, fingers, feet and toes. These uncomfortable sensations can escalate into mild pain and can eventually get so painful that walking is nearly impossible, and the slightest touch is unbearable. Sometimes diabetic nerve pain can be somewhat alleviated by losing weight, exercising, eating a special diet or quitting smoking. If you have been experiencing numb extremities, tingling or feelings of pins-and-needles, get yourself assessed for diabetes.