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5 surprising signs you could have diabetes

Stroke, heart attack, blindness, kidney failure and amputation are only a few of the life-changing effects diabetes can have on your body. These complications should warrant the close monitoring of blood glucose (sugar) levels and lifestyle habits, but all too often diabetes is neglected and not taken seriously. 

Signs you could have diabetes 

Having a high blood glucose level is the number one sign of diabetes. However, according to Mary Ransbotham, RN, CDE, manager of the Piedmont Diabetes Resource Center, sometimes high blood glucose levels can go undetected because when patients get blood work done, they are asked to fast and this will alter a true reading. 

“Often patients have diabetes for six to seven years before they even know it,” says Ransbotham. “In some ways it is a silent disease."

 Other signs you may have diabetes:

  • Being tired
  • Increased thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Increased urination 
  • Blurred vision

Talk to your physician about your risk factors. Click here to find a primary care physician near you. 

How common is diabetes? 

Diabetes strikes nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States. An estimated 79 million, or one in three American adults, have prediabetes. Those with prediabetes have blood glucose levels higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

How diabetes affects the body 

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, and it occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or cells ignore the insulin. This prevents the body from breaking down and using glucose properly for energy, which is needed for normal body functions.

“Diabetes education is key to detecting and managing diabetes,” says Ransbotham. “This disease is very complicated. It affects your entire nervous and vascular systems. It’s important to know all the factors that play a role in your diabetes from monitoring blood glucose, reading nutrition labels, insulin delivery, and much more.”

How to manage or prevent diabetes 

Don’t fall prey to this very manageable disease. While everybody has different body types and genetics, basic healthy lifestyle habits can alter the devastating outcome of diabetes. 

Ransbotham says it definitely can’t hurt anyone, with or without diabetes, to:

She cautions that these can be big lifestyle changes.

“People will set themselves up for failure if they try to undo years and years of bad habits overnight. A gradual shift to a healthier lifestyle is more productive and will have lasting benefits.”

Visit Living Better's Health & Wellness page for healthy lifestyle tips. 

Piedmont offers diabetes treatment and education services at its Atlanta, Fayette and Henry campuses. 

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