Early Signs of Diabetes for Women
First, it is important to understand that there are two different types of early signs of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s pancreas is no longer producing insulin at all, and they need insulin to live, period. This usually develops early in life, under the age of 18, although it can occur later in life and can be triggered by damage to the pancreas from disease or other external influences. This used to be known as juvenile diabetes because this used to be the only type that was generally found in children. Not so anymore.
For now, we’re talking about Type 2 diabetes, which was previously known as adult-onset diabetes because it was generally only found in adults. Again this is changing today, hence the change in the name. In this type of diabetes the pancreas is still producing insulin, sometimes in great abundance.
However, the body’s cells, especially those of the liver, are clogged with fatty tissue that is preventing the insulin from getting to the cells. This is what is known as insulin resistance. While it is true that 80% of Type 2 diabetics are overweight, the fact is that you can still have intra-organ fatty tissue and insulin resistance, without being obese.
Signs of Diabetes For Women
So, what are the early signs of diabetes for women? Let’s take a look, but keep in mind that these are only warning signs. If you have some of these it doesn’t guarantee you have diabetes.
If a woman has some of the following warning signs, she may have diabetes. Women with diabetes do not always have all of these signs. But the more signs a woman has, the more likely it is that she has early signs of diabetes.
- She had gestational diabetes in a previous pregnancy.
- One of her past babies was born very big (more than 8.8 lbs/4 kilograms); this is because the excess sugar/insulin in the mother’s blood makes the baby put on excess weight.
- One of her past babies was very ill or died at birth and no one knows why.
- She is overweight, obese, or morbidly obese (BMI of 25 and up)
- She has to urinate more frequently than other women her age.
- She is thirsty all the time. Because of the frequent urination, she is generally dehydrated, leading to excessive thirst.
- Because of high sugar in the urine, yeast and urinary tract infections are common.
- Her wounds seem to heal very slowly.
- Excessive fatigue or being tired all the time.
If you have several of these symptoms, it is important to talk with your doctor to get the proper testing and diagnosis. While I do truly believe in the diet and lifestyle changes talked about on this site, you still need confirmation of your diagnosis, and regular testing by competent medical professionals to ensure that you are keeping your diabetes under control and that no damage is cropping up. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just setting you up for failure down the road.
Early Signs of Diabetes in Men
A worried man Early signs of diabetes in men include all of the normal things you would think of when thinking about early signs of diabetes.
These include the following:
- Increased thirst.
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)
- Dry mouth.
- Nausea and occasionally vomiting.
- Frequent urination.
- Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
- Blurred vision.
- Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet.
- Weight gain over time (indicating insulin resistance)
- Sudden weight loss
Now, obviously, not all of these are early signs of diabetes, but some definitely are. Let’s talk about those.
The First early signs of diabetes
The first symptom that I experienced, although I didn’t realize it at the time, was weight gain over time. One of my careers went from an active job position to a sedentary one behind a desk, there was the expected weight gain because of my decrease inactivity.
But it didn’t stop there. At some point, I triggered the genes that cause Type 2 Diabetes and I was off and running – I just didn’t know it.
The next symptom that I experienced was increased thirst, dry mouth, and frequent urination. These really go together. As the body attempts to control elevated blood sugars over 180 mg/dl, the glucose spills over into the urine through the kidneys.
The kidneys try to flush it out as fast as they can, so you have to pee a lot. That makes you slightly dehydrated, leading to a dry mouth and increased thirst.
Now, some of you are probably thinking, if these are early signs of diabetes in men, why hasn’t my doctor caught this yet? Well, think about it. Doctors rely on us to tell them symptoms of anything we think is wrong, then they run lab tests to check on various factors to see what they can come up with. One common test for checking early signs of diabetes is the HbA1c test, commonly referred to as the A1c.
This test gives an overview of the last three months of your blood sugar, based on a percentage of glycated hemoglobin in your blood. These cells only live an average of 90 days, which is why the test is only looking back at your last 90 days.
Now, keep in mind this is an average of sorts. Your blood sugar could be perfectly fine in the morning (fasting) when you go for your doctor’s appointment. Fasting glucose can be in range and your A1c “good” according to current medical standards (don’t get me started on that one). But what happens after a meal?
Normally, as we eat, insulin is produced by the pancreas to open up the cells of our body so they can utilize the glucose that is made from our bodies converting carbohydrates into energy. A normal person will see a small rise in blood sugar, let’s say between 100 – 120 mg/dl after a heavy carb-laden meal. But what about someone who is pre-diabetic? What about someone who is insulin resistant but hasn’t been diagnosed and doesn’t know what the symptoms are?
For us, the T2 diabetic, pre-diabetic, and insulin-resistant folks, our blood sugar will go higher after a meal. Depending on how well your pancreas is producing insulin and the amount of insulin-resistant you have, it could be much higher.
The problem is, your doctor isn’t checking your blood sugar after a heavy, carb-laden meal. The only time this type of carb-loaded test is done as a routine test is for pregnant women. You may have heard of it, it’s called the glucose tolerance test. This gives a real indication of how well your body is responding to a meal that is heavy in carbohydrates.
You can perform a similar, simple test at home with any over-the-counter glucose meter. Simply test your blood sugar before your meal. If you are already over 140 mg/dl then I can tell you that you need to revisit your doctor because you are most likely diabetic, pre-diabetic, or highly insulin resistant. Now, eat your wonderful carbohydrate-laden meal. Re-test your blood sugar at one-hour intervals following the last bite of food.
Most folks will find that their blood sugar peaks somewhere between the one-hour and two-hour mark. Now, here’s the important part of this at-home diagnostic test. If your blood sugar rises more than 20 mg/dl over your pre-meal reading, or if your blood sugar goes over 120 mg/dl at any time, then you need to revisit your doctor and discuss doing a glucose tolerance test, fasting insulin test, and c-peptide test. These will give a much clearer picture of how your pancreas is performing and whether or not you just have insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or full-blown Type 2 Diabetes. Just remember, whatever the results are, they can be changed!
The Elephant in The Room
There’s one early sign of diabetes in men that most men don’t want to talk about. It’s embarrassing in mixed company, can hurt our pride, and make us feel like less of a man. Yes, I’m talking about ED or erectile dysfunction. So, how does diabetes cause this symptom that can bring the mightiest of men to their knees? It’s all about the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the restriction of blood flow.
Because high blood sugar damages blood vessels, at some point they begin to carry less and less oxygen to the surrounding cells, especially the nerve endings. This creates an issue where the blood vessels and the nerves in the penis can be damaged. But it doesn’t stop there.
Damage in this area can also cause something called retrograde ejaculation. This results in some semen being released into the bladder. Symptoms may include noticeably less semen released during ejaculation. Less mess to clean up (for you or her) might not be such a good thing after all. Other issues can also be attributed to early signs of diabetes such as an overactive bladder, inability to control urine, and urinary tract infections (UTI).
The really bad news with ED, as if it wasn’t bad enough already, is that if it is being caused by high blood sugar and if it is allowed to go untreated (meaning your blood sugar isn’t brought under control) the damage can become permanent. Yeah, that’s what I thought too. For most guys, this is a BIG reason to get your blood sugar under control and keep it there.
Early Signs of Diabetes: Conclusion
I know that somewhere, some guy is reading this right now and wondering if they have early signs of diabetes. If that is you, just get up off your butt and go to the doctor. Talk about your symptoms and concerns. There is no way to determine over the internet whether or not you’ve got diabetes for sure. Many other variables can cause high blood sugar and the other early symptoms of diabetes in men that we’ve discussed on this page. Don’t wait to find out.
Every day, heck, every hour that your blood sugar is over 140 mg/dl you are causing damage to your body. But early signs of diabetes are insidious. It works slowly. It takes time to build up damage. By the time most people are diagnosed, it is estimated that they have actually had the disease for 5-10 years. Some of the damage can be reversed if caught in time. But the longer you wait, the more likely it that you will have irreversible damage from the silent killer known as diabetes.