Early Signs of Diabetes

Here's what to watch for
by Lynn Siprelle

Diabetes, known formally as diabetes mellitus, affects 20 million Americans, with many more at risk. Adult onset, or type II, diabetes continues to rise. People with diabetes cannot either make or use insulin, which is a hormone produced by the body that assists in the breakdown of sugars in our food for fuel. When the body can't do this, the blood stream and the urine become full of sugar molecules, called glucose.

Type II dabetes usually comes on gradually. In fact, it's possible to stave off the disease for a long time, if you watch for early signs that you may have a problem. It's not inevitable, even if it runs in your family, and can be controlled through diet and exercise.

The most common early symptom of diabetes is thirst. The extra blood glucose captures the moisture in your cells, which the body thinks is dehydration. When your body thinks it's dehydrated, it sends the brain the thirst signal and you get thirsty.

The flip side of this is frequent urination. You're drinking more, but your cells aren't absorbing the water. The extra glucose then moves it through the blood stream to the kidneys and bladder, and hey presto, you're living in the bathroom.

Fatigue is another common warning sign of diabetes. Because you can't break food down properly, your muscle cells don't get the fuel they need to run. And thirst and frequent peeing during the night means you probably aren't getting enough sleep, either.

Flu-like symptoms such as headaches, muscle aches and pains are all part of the symptoms of diabetes. The dehydrated cells throughout the body are demanding nourishment, the blood is sluggish with unmetabolized glucose, and the brain, liver and pancreas are not being renewed. Sounds flu-ish, no? Headaches, muscles aches and pains cause sleep patterns to be even more disrupted, leading to more fatigue in a vicious circle. Diabetes shares this cycle in common with fibromyalgia, and if you think you may have fibro, be sure to get checked out for diabetes before you accept that diagnosis.

Finally, and most seriously, vision problems can be part of the onset of diabetes. Dehydrated eye cells can cause vision blurriness. If diabetes goes unchecked, it can cause permanent blindness.

The good news is, diet and exercise changes can both prevent and reverse diabetes--and we're not talking about starvation or marathon running, we're talking very reasonable changes. In serious cases you may need to add medications. Your health care provider will know what's best for your case, but don't let that stop you from taking action now if you think you may have some of the early signs of diabetes.


Katie's picture

Thank you. That helped.

afraid's picture

the dr. said i might have it...
what the hell do i do???
how do i hald this??
im olny a teenager...

Lynn's picture

And stop eating so many carbs. Give yourself some fat! That's why you're hungry all the time! The carbs you're eating, though complex, turn straight to sugar. You need more protein and more good fats. Focus on:

  • Grass-fed animal protein *and fat*, including eggs, butter and whole milk yogurt--eat the damn chicken skin! This is the part of your diet you should never skimp on. Buy the best you can afford.
  • Increasing your fat intake from coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil--avoid transfats and most vegetable oils--they are rancid the minute they hit the shelf.
  • Reducing your grain/starch consumption. Little to no bread, pasta, rice. They are all ugar, sugar, sugar. This is not as hard as you think it is; I eat rice once or twice a week, and pretty much no grains the rest of the time. When I do eat something else, like a corn tortilla, it takes the place of the rice.
  • Increasing your vegetable and fruit consumption, though keep the latter to a couple of pieces a day. Dark green and deep yellow/orange vegetables are the ticket.
  • Eating at least one fermented food every day--yogurt certainly qualifies.

It's no wonder you don't feel well, poor thing! Take a look at Nourishing Tradition; it's the plan that has turned my life around and cut the (already low) occlusion rate in my heart in half. The closer I adhere to that plan, the better I feel and the more weight I lose.

Good luck!

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