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Do I Have Diabetes? How To Tell If You Have Type 2 Diabetes

Updated on August 20, 2011

Am I Diabetic?

Am I diabetic? This is the question I asked myself when I began feeling ill a few months ago. I had all the risk factors: I'm overweight and had pre-diabetes. And I had the symptoms of type II diabetes: extreme thirst, frequent urination, dry skin, extreme fatigue, blurred vision and (sorry guys), yeast infections. Still, I hoped that I just had a bad cold or the flu, or some other type of passing illness.

However, when I finally went to see my endocrinologist, she informed me that my blood sugar was over 400 ... and I was thisclose to having to be hospitalized. I was frightened and a little in denial, but she assured me that the disease could be controlled with proper medication and some major lifestyle changes.

It's been a few weeks since my diagnosis and my blood sugar is way down, in the 100s. The thirst and fatigue are gone, I'm sleeping better and I've overhauled my diet. Still, I have a lot to learn about type II diabetes, and while there is a lot of information out there from the medical community, I've come across few personal stories.

I am not a doctor or a medical professional, but I'd like to share what my symptons felt like and what my experience has been like so far. This way, others who may have this disease can hear first-hand what it's like and what to expect.

Again, if you suspect that you're ill, please seek help from a specialist. Meantime, I hope that my story will give you a realistic picture of what it's like to have type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes Symptoms: What They Feel Like

Many symptoms of diabetes can be symptoms of other illnesses, but if you have several at the same time, it could mean that you're diabetic, Here's a rundown of what I experienced:

1. Extreme thirst: I'm not talking about the type of thirst you have when you've eaten something spicy. I felt as if my entire BODY were thirsty. My skin was hot and dry, and I wanted to sink myself into a vat of ice. I'd drink dozens of drinks a day -- full bottles of Snapple, juice, smoothies, water ... the colder and icier, the better. I'd swear to myself that I'd cut back, that I'd try to make it through a meal with only one glass of water, but I couldn't do it. The only times I felt good were when I took a cold shower or swam in a cold pool.

2. Frequent urination: Of course, if you drink so much, you have to go. All the time. I could barely last an hour without having to use the facilities and almost had a few accidents. I barely got any sleep because I was in the bathroom all night.

3. Breakouts. I've never had great skin, but my entire back was covered with acne -- large, red, ugly bumps. I also had breakouts on my arms and forehead.

4. Fatigue. Since I didn't sleep well, I was exhausted. But my exhaustion went beyond being merely tired; my body and mind were spent. I could barely concentrate at work and almost fell asleep a few times.

5. Yeast infections: This might be TMI, but high blood sugar can cause an overgrowth of yeast, and it did for me. Yeast infections are annoying enough, but mine wouldn't go away until my blood sugar got under control. They were worse than any I'd experienced before -- itchy, raw and yes, painful.

6. Blurry vision. I've had 20/20 vision for 37 years and all of a sudden, I became near-sighted. When your blood sugar is high, the shape of your lens can change. Mine did, explaining why my vision suddenly shifted. It looked as if I were seeing the world through a piece of plastic wrap. A few days later, my vision returned to normal as my body compensated for the change. Now that my blood sugar is down, my lens is changing back and my vision is once again blurry.

7. Loss of appetite: Perhaps it was because I was ingesting so many liquids, but I could barely look at food. I had to force myself to eat because all I wanted were drinks. The only foods I craved were popsicles or soup ... which are just another version of liquids.

8. Weight loss. I lost a lot of weight (which is good in the long run), but it happened without me eating particularly well or exercising much. I'm sure the loss of appetite contributed.

9. Bad colds. I'm not sure if this is truly a symptom of type 2 diabetes, but diabetes does mess with your immunity. For the past few months, I've had several really bad colds -- ones that took me out of work -- some that were back to back. My mucus was thick and green, and it would take several weeks for the cold to end. Since my blood sugar has dropped, I haven't had any colds (knock on wood).

10. Numb hands and feet. I haven't experienced this -- and hope that I don't -- but many diabetics do, so it's something to look out for.


Diabetes Treatment: Testing Blood Sugar And Taking Insulin Shots

When I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, I was freaked out about having to test my blood sugar. I also dreaded giving myself insulin shots. I feared that these tasks would hurt and I'd be in pain all the time. The good news is, they really don't hurt at all. The needles are so thin that you barely feel them, and these tasks just become routine. Still, this is what they feel like:

1. Testing blood sugar: I prick the sides of my fingers to get a little drop of blood. I then place the drop on a test strip and my meter (I own a One-Touch Ultra) gives me a reading. It's supposedly simple, though sometimes my fingers don't bleed enough! The actual prick feels as if you're sticking your nail into your finger. It's more annoying than painful.

2. The thing that freaked me out about doing the insulin shot is that I have to stick it in my stomach. But again, it doesn't hurt. The tiny needle slides right in and the insulin pen is very easy to use. It does leave a small mark, but you barely feel the entry.

3. One more little warning: when I went to get my blood drawn prior to my doctor's appointment, the nurse drew A LOT. She wouldn't tell me how much was taken, but that needles was in me for about five minutes. I felt lightheaded afterward, so be prepared to get a good amount of blood drawn. I had to fast beforehand, but make sure that you have water with you so you can drink some after the procedure.

I hope that my experience will shed some light on what one can expect when dealing with diabetes. I wish I'd realized that I was sick earlier on and hope that I can serve as a cautionary tale. Again, if you suspect that you have diabetes, please see your doctor. I was relieved when I was finally diagnosed and knew that I'd get help.

Comments

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    • profile image

      kelleyward 

      6 years ago

      Very informative Hub! I think frequent colds and infections as a sign of type 2 diabetes is not recognized enough. Thanks for including this one in your article.

    • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

      Ruchi Urvashi 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Good information. Early symptoms of diabetes are very important and it is best to get diagnosed early.

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 

      6 years ago from United States

      Great post..

    • PETER LUMETTA profile image

      PETER LUMETTA 

      7 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

      A good desciption and good advice, I been doing it for many years,

      Peter

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