Sadly, the more I learn about my diabetes, the more I realize I spent years suffering needlessly when someone should have recognized I was diabetic. If I can help even one person get a proper diagnosis of diabetes - thereby giving them the chance to live a truly healthy life - then I want to do that.
So, how should someone have known I had diabetes? Let me count the ways:
1. I'd had gestational diabetes while pregnant with my last child. Gestational diabetes puts women at a 36 - 60% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life.* Every doctor I saw (and there were many) knew I'd had gestational diabetes...and because of this every one of them should have tested me for diabetes. To my OB/GYN's credit, she did want to test my blood sugar - but she insisted it couldn't be done through a blood test; she wanted me to spend the greater part of the day drinking a glucose solution and then waiting around for a result. I had two small children and no babysitter; I told her that kind of test just wasn't going to happen. She refused a blood test. And, sadly, a blood test would have worked just fine.
2. Most of my weight was in my middle. This should scream to every doctor that the patient probably has blood sugar issues. It might not be diabetes yet, but it's almost assuredly insulin resistance, which is a precursor to diabetes.
|Gestational diabetes puts women at higher risk for developing diabetes later.|
4. My testosterone was high. After my son was born eight years ago, I never quite felt well again. I felt my hormones were out of whack and the one hormone test my GYN would do was for testosterone. It was high; she did nothing about it. High testosterone in women often leads to diabetes.
5. I felt terrible after exercising. I don't know how many doctors told me I should feel great after exercising, but I do know I told them all the opposite was true; after exercising I felt even more exhausted and sick. Now I know that when your blood sugar is high, exercise makes your blood sugar even higher; therefore, exercise makes you feel terrible when your blood sugar is out of control.
6. My feet were always cracked and dry. You may know that diabetics tend toward foot troubles, but you may not realize one of those troubles is dry feet.
7. My memory was terrible. This is a common side effect of diabetes.
8. My eyesight kept getting worse and worse. My ophthalmologist literally told me last year, "Huh. Your eyes seem to get worse every year. Hmmm..." and left it at that. But this is another classic side effect of diabetes.
|Eyesight that worsens early can point to diabetes.|
9. I'd had a magnesium deficiency. Most diabetics are low in magnesium, and researchers think a deficiency may lead to insulin resistance.
10. I was grumpy. Some diabetics say they feel like Jekyll and Hyde because part of the day they feel angry and grumpy and the next part of the day they feel like themselves. This is due to blood sugar spiking and dropping. Once my blood sugar was lowered, my routine grumpiness disappeared.
11. I have a family history of diabetes. On both sides. There is a link between your genes and your chances of getting diabetes, so doctors should regularly test patients who have a family lineage of diabetes.
Many people avoid thoughts that they might have diabetes because they fear the consequences of the disease, which are truly awful. BUT you don't have to suffer from the consequences of the disease if you take your condition into your own hands and reduce your blood sugar. Many thousands of people have done it, and gone on to live long lives.
To learn about more symptoms of diabetes, see the American Diabetes Association website. However, don't follow their dietary guidelines, which push lots of carbohydrates - you know, the carbs that turn to sugar in your body. To reverse diabetes or pre-diabetes (meaning to return to your blood sugar to normal levels - the 80s - and possibly come off insulin or diabetes medication, I recommend the Facebook Group Reversing Diabetes, which has been instrumental in my quickly lowering my blood sugar to normal. If you aren't on Facebook, trust me - this group is worth creating a Facebook account just for the information and support they offer.
* Children whose mothers had gestation diabetes while pregnant with them are also at higher risk for developing diabetes. (As well as learning disabilities and autism.)