During my years of working in the hospital and encountering newly diagnosed diabetic patients, I noticed a pattern. Quite often these were the people who ignored the early symptoms until they became pretty obvious. A word to the wise – Don’t wait until your foot is rotting and about to fall off before you start to think that something is wrong.
I’ve seen it all – denial, ignorance, lack of health care, whatever the reason, it’s sad. It’s estimated that more than 6 million people have diabetes and don’t even know it. How do you know one of those people isn’t you? These are just a few of the symptoms and risk factors of diabetes. If any of the following is true for you, take it seriously:
1 You have a family history of diabetes… and on top of that, you are inactive, overweight, and consume an unhealthy diet. What do I mean by unhealthy? Well, you have nothing edible in your vegetable drawer in the fridge, but the pantry is full of packaged sweet and salty snacks. Or the few vegetables that you do eat are swimming in a sea of hocks or some other salty meat. I believe a big part of that “family history” link is the unhealthy lifestyle being passed down from one generation to the next. You may not think of this as a “symptom”, but it certainly increases your risk.
2 You cannot see your feet when standing unless you bend over significantly. A waistline greater than 35” for women, 40” for men not only says you’re overweight, but puts you at greater risk for diabetes AND heart disease.
3 You’re peeing more than you used to, and you’re thirstier than ever. Not to alarm you, but if you’re on a road trip and have to pull over every 15 minutes, or lately you can’t sit through an entire movie without a couple of bathroom breaks, consider it a possible warning and check it out.
4 You’ve experienced miraculous weight loss, even though you can be found sitting on the couch with your hand stuck in a bag of cookies on a regular basis. Now you know doggone well if you just dropped 10 or more pounds, and you haven’t done anything to deserve that victory, you should not be celebrating. You need to get your tail to the nearest glucometer and have your blood sugar checked ASAP.
5 You have a wound that just won’t heal. Please do not ignore this one, and go to the hospital with an open gash that you noticed 3 weeks ago and tried to put a band-aid over. This one is more common in men. The woman (women) in your life will try to urge you to check it out. Please listen to her (them).
6 You are incredibly grouchy. This is the one that I really can’t stand. You treat people like crap and you don’t even wonder why?? Come on. I bet when somebody slaps the crap out of you for acting like an a#@h%$#, you’ll go see a therapist about your attitude and… ok, sorry. Let me focus.
7 Speaking of focus, blurred vision. If all of a sudden you can’t see clearly, please find out why. This is NOT okay and if left unchecked, only gets worse.
I find it necessary to touch on this subject because so many people ignore the symptoms, or perhaps they just don’t know. I came across the now defunct website blackfolkdont.com with a video called “black folk don’t go to the doctor” which inspired me to write this post. It made me think of all the patients I’ve seen that would never have been admitted had they done something sooner.
Like I said, these are just a few symptoms/risk factors. Diabetes IS MANAGEABLE, through diet, exercise, medication, and knowledge. I hate to hear people say “oooh, he has diabetes real bad”. No. He manages his diabetes “real bad”.
You can find lots more info at diabetes.org. But honestly, if any of the above is true, you don’t need to research any further. You just need to go get tested. The worst that can happen is a positive test for diabetes. The worst that can happen if you DON’T get tested… for starters, your foot could fall off.