Why symptoms of diabetes are not detected early?
In India 72.96 million cases of diabetes in adult population were estimated. The prevalence in urban areas ranges between 10.9% and 14.2% and prevalence in rural India was 3.0-7.8% among population aged 20 years and above with a much higher prevalence among people aged over 50 years. Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of mortality accounting for over 3.8 million deaths annually. It has been estimated that one individual dies of diabetes or its complications every 10 seconds.
Why is diabetes detected late?
Type 2 diabetes is usually asymptomatic. As it shows common symptoms like increased urination and thirst which can be easily left unnoticed, which applies for all other symptoms of diabetes. In the type 2 diabetes the cause is due to the insulin resistance which is usually develops gradually. Since the symptoms are left unnoticed for long time, over the period high blood glucose may starts to affect your organ systems like eyes, kidney, nerves etc..
The common symptoms of diabetes may include,
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections, such as gums or skin infections and vaginal infections
How to detect diabetes early?
Once the symptoms cannot be differentiated, we can do the screening like fasting blood sugar or random blood sugar. As everyone needs to get the screening once they reached age of 45 years above, routine screening is recommended in high risk persons like hypertension, high cholesterol and whose having diabetic parents.
Risk factors for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes includes
- Weight: The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
- Inactivity: Physical activity helps you control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin. The less active you are, the greater the risk
- Family History Your risk increases if a parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
- Race or ethnicity. Although it’s unclear why, certain people including Black, Hispanic, American Indian and Asian American people are at higher risk.
- Age: If you are above 45 years of age, may increase the risk. This may be because you tend to exercise less, lose muscle mass and gain weight as you age. But type 2 diabetes is also increasing among children, adolescents and younger adults.
- Gestational Diabetes If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant, your risk of developing prediabetes and type 2 diabetes later increases. If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms), you’re also at risk of type 2 diabetes. Risk factors for gestational diabetes include above age of 25, family history and overweight.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome which is characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity which also act as a risk factor for diabetes.
- High Blood Pressure Having blood pressure over 140/90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels. If you have low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or high levels of triglycerides have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
When the above mentioned risk factors are met, the patient should routinely screen for diabetes every three years even though patient has no symptoms or a negative screening result.