When you were first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you might not have had any clue that you had it, because unlike type 1, where the diabetic becomes deathly ill from a total lack of insulin, type 2 diabetics often have very few or even no symptoms at all.
Are you thirsty all the time? This is one of the classic “warning signs” of type 2 diabetes. But who sees being thirsty as a “danger” to your health? Certainly not me!
The real danger of type 2 diabetes is that most people don’t even notice they have it. There’s no pain. You don’t feel horrible all the time. There are, to put it bluntly, no danger signs that your body is being ravaged by this evil disease. YOU FEEL JUST FINE! And this is why type 2 diabetes is so extremely dangerous.
It’s easy to follow a doctor’s orders when you feel horrible, or when you have a big lump or swelling somewhere on your body. When there is physical evidence that something is seriously wrong with you, then your immediate reaction is to want to make it right. To fix the pain or the lump or swelling so it will go away.
But type 2 diabetes isn’t like that. You most likely can’t feel that you have something wrong, which makes it very easy for you to just ignore it — to not take care of it. And this can be very dangerous to your health!
When you have type 2 diabetes, your glucose (blood sugar) levels are “off.” They aren’t normal. When you are diagnosed with diabetes, your doctor will tell you what your numbers should be — what the ideal range is for you — what numbers you should want to have.
Extremely high or low numbers can be very dangerous to you. If your numbers drop too low or go excessively high you can die, and consistently high numbers can be doing major damage to your body.
But the most dangerous part of number extremes is that most people DON’T FEEL IT. They don’t know their numbers are “off.” And when you feel just fine, it’s easy to simply ignore it, to assume (or pretend) that you are just fine.
For far too many years this is what I did — I simply ignored my numbers, or didn’t bother to test at all. I felt fine, so why should I bother with all those blood sugar tests?
The answer is simple — consistently high numbers can completely ravage your body! Uncontrolled diabetes can have many extremely serious consequences — it can do things to you that you never dreamed of — and that you do NOT want to experience.
Recently I spoke at length with a diabetic whose kidneys failed (because of diabetes). The stories he told of the nightmare of having to be on dialysis were enough to make me sit up and pay close attention. Trust me, people, you do NOT want your kidneys to fail!
Diabetics need to have a special eye exam every year. These need to be special tests conducted just for the purpose of seeing if your diabetes is doing damage to your eyes — damage you most likely won’t know about until it’s too late! My eye doctor explained it to me (but I have no clue what the technical language is).
What I did come away understanding is that diabetes can cause black spots to start forming behind my eyes and when there are enough of them, I will go blind. Once they are there, there’s nothing that can be done about them! But if we catch them in time, we can stop them from getting bigger, saving my sight. So get your yearly diabetes eye exams!
The worst part of having diabetes is that these are just two of the horrible complications that can sneak up on you when you aren’t looking. There are even more!
My diabetes doctor told me that diabetics are up to 4 times as likely to have heart attacks and strokes than people who aren’t diabetic. Your liver is under attack. Your pancreas is working overtime.
One of the biggest dangers is neuropathy — damage to your nerves, especially in your legs and feet. When your feet become numb, it’s easy for you to damage them without knowing it. This is why amputations are such a common complication for diabetics.
And all of this damage to your body is going on behind your back — when you aren’t looking — BECAUSE YOU FEEL JUST FINE!
And this is why diabetes is called, “The Silent Killer.” You most likely won’t ever feel what it’s doing to you until it’s too late — until the damage to your body is done and irreversible.
So please, please, please, take care of your diabetes! Just because you can’t feel it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. You can stop (or at least dramatically slow down) the progression of these terrible complications by taking good care of yourself and by paying attention to what your doctor tells you.
Take care of yourself today. No one can do it for you.