10 Silent Signs of Diabetes

10 signs that might mean diabetes#diabetes#heartdisease

Diabetes mellitus type 2, sometimes called “sugar diabetes”, is one reason  I have posted several articles about obesity.  Obesity is strongly associated with diabetes.

People who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of developing diabetes, and if they are diabetic, their blood glucose (sugar) will be more difficult to control. Unfortunately, some of the medicines used to treat diabetes cause weight gain, or make weight loss difficult.

Diabetes and obesity are interrelated; we don't always know which came first.
Diabetes and obesity are interrelated; we don’t always know which came first.

Diabetes is a serious disease.

People know cancer, heart disease, stroke, AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease are serious, but tend to pay little heed to diabetes. They would be more concerned if they realized that diabetes directly contributes to many other conditions that decrease quality as well as length of life.

Diabetes directly causes 

  1. atherosclerosis, a fancy name for narrowed or blocked arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood; depending on which arteries this can lead to heart attacks, stroke, loss of vision-retinopathy,  limb pain and amputation
  2. loss of kidney function, called nephropathy, which can progress into ESRD (end stage renal disease)
  3. damage to nerves, causing painful neuropathy with numbness and tingling in the feet, impotence, bowel and bladder dysfunction, dizziness among other symptoms.
diagram of the human heart
Heart diseases affect any and sometimes multiple parts of the heart- the atria, ventricles, the valves, the aorta, the pulmonary artery and veins, the walls and the coronary arteries (not shown in this diagram. )

Now there is good news.

First, diabetes is easy to diagnose; a simple blood test, sometimes repeated for confirmation, can find it quickly.

Second, through a combination of lifestyle  and medication, diabetes can be controlled effectively.

Diabetes is treated with a combination of diet, exercise, and medication. Many diabetic persons monitor their blood sugar regularly.

Anyone can develop diabetes; even children and teenagers are developing it now.

We know that some people are at greater risk- so they should be tested for possible diabetes at more frequent intervals. But anyone with these symptoms should see their doctor to discuss testing .

  • • extreme thirst
  • • increased hunger
  • • significant weight loss without trying
  • • unexplained fatigue
  • • blurry vision
  • • frequent urination
  • • tingling hands and feet
  • • sexual problems
  • • sores that don’t heal
  • heat intolerance in warm weather

Persons at higher than average risk include 

  • older age, especially over age 40
  • overweight/obese persons
  • women with history of gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
  • Black, Native American and Hispanic persons in the United States;  (worldwide various other ethnic groups are at higher risk)
  • Family history of diabetes, especially if in a parent or sibling
  • Persons with high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol
It is especially important to control blood pressure and cholesterol when diabetes is present.
It is especially important to control blood pressure and cholesterol when diabetes is present.
Detailed information about diabetes can be found here

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Health Information Center

The Blogger's Pit Stop

Waist size matters; what’s yours?

Your waist size should measure less than your hips. ( that is, a ratio less than 1)

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I started a series about obesity by introducing the concept  of body mass index, BMI.

What is obesity, why does it matter?
BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.
BMI Chart created by Vertex42.com. Used with permission.

But physicians also consider another measurement in diagnosing obesity. Simply waist size. Something most of us don’t think about until we want  to buy new clothes, or notice that the old ones don’t fit. But an elevated waist circumference can be a problem for more reasons than making it hard to fasten your seat belt on an airplane. It correlates with a greater risk of the same conditions that elevated BMI is, especially type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease.

So how high is too high? In the United States, the following values are used most often.

  • for women, a waist greater than 35 inches (88 centimeters)
  • for men, a waist greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters) 
a tape measure wrapped around an apple

Another related value  is the waist-to-hip ratio; disease risk is increased

for women, if the ratio is greater than 0.85 and for men if greater than 0.9

Or another easy way to remember this is – Your waist size should measure less than your hips. ( that is, a ratio less than 1)

Learn more in this discussion on waist size from Harvard.

Waist Size Matters | Obesity Prevention Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

exploring the HEART of healthy weight management

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