They say that ignorance is bliss. I guess in some ways that may be true. And I, like many others, was blissfully ignorant when it came to diabetes and its symptoms.
Misconceptions, half-truths and complete fantasy seem to be the historical norm when it comes to diabetes information. With all that we do know and the many advancements in medicine and science that have brought hope and clarity to this condition, the same conundrum exists today. To be sure, there are people and organizations dedicated to correcting this problem. Nonetheless the majority of people have very little accurate understanding of any aspect of diabetes.
Up until a Friday afternoon in October 2010 I was one of those people. That was when these words wrapped themselves around me like a cold icy grip from beyond the pale, “You have diabetes”.What?! Had I missed something? How could this be? I ate a fairly healthy diet. I was not overweight. No one in my family had this. Why did I not see this coming? Like many of us I did not understand that diabetes is actually an autoimmune disease.
Over the course of the next few weeks and months I began to realize the truth. I had, indeed, missed something. I had missed many things. I missed them because I was completely unaware of the fact that they had meaning. Over time I had experienced nearly all of the common symptoms of diabetes. Diabetes was the farthest thing from my mind. I looked at the symptoms in isolation, as individual events and symptoms. I was completely oblivious to the story they were trying to tell.
You would think that with all the efforts put forth to raise awareness of diabetes it would be difficult not to know these things. But the sad fact is that the vast majority of people who are not already touched by diabetes in some way are still unaware and misinformed about the disease and its progression.
If I had been more aware and knowledgeable about diabetes, I most likely could have avoided a great many of the challenges and complications I have dealt with since diagnosis. Here are a few of the things that I missed or ignored. These could have changed the course of my life had I understood and acted on them at the time.
• I drank a lot of water, almost a gallon each day. My mouth seemed to always be dry.
• I was always in the bathroom. Frequent urination is another big indicator. I just figured it had more to do with the amount of water I drank and my aging prostate.
• I had difficulty getting a sharp focus. My vision was beginning to be blurry. I attributed this to the fact that it was time for new glasses.
• I experienced foot pain and often had muscle cramps. This was easily explained by the hours I stood on concrete. So I bought better shoes. Eventually the pain left and turned into a numbness.
• I had numbness and pain in my hands which I attributed to carpal tunnel syndrome, but I was wrong.
These are just a handful of the more obvious symptoms of diabetes. I wanted to share with you not only the symptoms, but my own justifications and totally inaccurate conclusions just in case they sound familiar to anyone.
If any of this sounds familiar to you at all, talk to your doctor. Inform yourself about the symptoms of diabetes. This disease is far too common for you to assume, as I did, that you will not be affected. I can tell you, from my own experience, as difficult as it is to understand and deal with diabetes, dealing with the complications and the aftermath of neglect is by FAR the more challenging of the two.
This was originally posted in my blog at http://www.greatbg.com/what-you-dont-know/