“If you are not taking responsibility for your state of consciousness, you are not taking responsibility for life.” Eckhart Tolle
More than ten million people around the world remain in blissful ignorance that they are living with a deceptive disease with the potential to spread irreversible destruction throughout the body. In well-developed countries, the diabetes rate has increased by almost half over the last two decades as the rate of obesity goes up.
More recently however, poorer countries, like India, Mexico or China have begun to follow the trend. A newly published research in Lancet says that India is the third most obese country in the world right behind the States and China. According to the study number of overweight and obese people globally increased from 857 million in 1980 to 2.1 billion in 2013. That's one-third of the world’s population.
Diabetes is having an overwhelming impact on both an individual human being and society. So, why is this often preventable, manageable illness causing such devastation? The answer lies in truly understanding how the whole body is affected by diabetes: the heart, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, liver, eyes and nervous system.
Most people with undiagnosed diabetes are experiencing some warning signs, but having little knowledge of what is actually happening within their bodies, they simply ignore them. So, if you have at least one of the following symptoms described below, don’t wait. Make an appointment with your GP to check your blood sugar.
1. Excessive urination
The average human being pees four to seven times within 24 hours. If you notice that you need to use the bathroom more frequently, particularly if you have to get up at night, you may be at risk. The kidneys are doing an extra work trying to get rid of that extra glucose in the blood. This symptom leads to another; you get thirsty.
2. Excessive thirst
As you naturally lose water by frequent urination, the body will try to replenish its fluid stores. You will soon experience an excessive thirst. These two symptoms are interconnected as that’s the body’s way to cope with high blood sugar.
3. Unexplained rapid weight loss
The kidneys are now working extra hard to eliminate the excess sugar, which takes up a lot of energy, and in consequence leads to a loss of calories. At this point, the insulin isn’t getting glucose into the cells, so the body assumes that there is no glucose available due to starvation. As an emergency coping mechanism, the body is looking for an alternative source of energy and starts breaking down protein from the muscles trying to make up for the loss.
4. Excessive hunger
Sugar cravings may be due to emotional eating problems, but it can also be a sign of diabetes. Excessive hunger is a consequence of extreme spikes in blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels go down, mixed signals are being sent to the brain. The body interprets it as starvation, so it craves more glucose to feed the cells and maintain balance.
5. Skin problems
High sugar levels in the bloodstream cause damage to the veins and arteries slowing down our circulation. A poor circulation slows down wound healing process. Having infections or cuts that take quite a long time to heal, especially on hands and feet, are usually indicators of diabetes.
6. Low energy level
High blood sugar levels also cause chronic fatigue and overall exhaustion. That's actually perfectly understandable considering that we are getting up at night to go to the bathroom a few times during the night, lose weight and feel constantly hungry.
7. Blurry vision
Blurry vision, seeing distorted images, flashes or floaters are directly associated with high blood sugar levels. The excess sugars in the blood literally change the shape of the lens causing refraction problems.
Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, along with burning pain or swelling, are early signs of diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage). As with vision, if blood sugar levels remain high for too long, nerves damage will be permanent.
New data shows that diabetes has even more destructive impact than we thought. In recently published study researcher were looking at how diabetes may be associated with brain damage and decline in mental sharpness. All participants were tested at the beginning of the study and then two years later with various blood tests, MRI scans and tests of cognitive ability. Scientists concluded that people with diabetes had greater declines in cerebral blood flow in so-called grey matter volume and increased levels of inflammation than those in the control group. Among the group with diabetes, those with more severe declines in cerebral blood flow had also greater declines of mental skills.
Diabetes is the most punishing illness of our time and the leading cause of blindness, heart disease and kidney failure. High blood sugar levels trigger a disastrous chain reaction that is too powerful to be ignored. Being aware of early symptoms helps us acknowledge the damage, get early treatment, and to some extend, manage future complications.
Having awareness of how we can control our health before the damage is done, however, opens up a portal to another, very different dimension of living. That’s the first step on the path to positive health. Anyone can begin today.