“Hello Mr. Adamu. What is the matter? You’ve lost weight, is everything okay?” “Yes, everything is ok, my friend, but I’ve noticed I’m losing weight and I feel very thirsty these days,” Adamu said. “I plan to see the doctor as soon as possible.” “That sounds good Mr. Adamu, please do.”
What causes diabetes?
Your body needs glucose (a type of sugar) as a source of energy. To do this, it moves glucose from the blood to the cells, to generate energy where you need it most. The body releases a hormone called insulin to perform this important activity. However, diabetes occurs when you produce little or no insulin (type 1 diabetes), or your body fails to respond to insulin (type 2 diabetes). Both situations cause the amount of glucose in the blood to rise above normal levels.
Diabetes is a very common condition. Common signs of diabetes include:
Frequent urination: In diabetics, glucose accumulates within the blood setting off a chain of events. For example, excess blood sugar overflows into the urine, which pulls water to itself, causing the person to urinate more frequently. This is one of the early signs of diabetes.
Excessive thirst: Frequent urination makes the body lose too much water. With time, your body’s natural control mechanisms kick in to prevent dehydration. This results in the second sign of diabetes—feeling thirsty all the time. It’s okay to feel thirsty, but excessive thirst is a warning signal that diabetes lurks round the corner!
Feeling hungry despite eating: Body cells need glucose for energy. Unfortunately, in people living with diabetes, glucose stays trapped in the blood and the rest of the body suffers amid plenty. You can no longer meet the body’s energy demands because glucose cannot get where it is most needed; this leads to another important sign of diabetes—feeling hungry despite eating.
Feeling exhausted: The next sign of diabetes relates to inability of your body to move glucose into your cells. You cannot use the glucose because it’s trapped in your blood. As lack of insulin starves the body of needed energy, you find it increasingly difficult to cope with daily activities. As a result, you feel exhausted.
Take-home: Diabetes is a serious illness, but the warning signs are easy to recognize. The warning signs are all tied to inability of the body to make use of glucose because of low insulin levels or the body’s non-response to it. Some other medical conditions cause symptoms that mimic diabetes. Please see your doctor if you notice these early signs—it could save your life.