Varun is 25 years old and after a fainting episode in the office one day, his doctor orders an OGTT test to find out that he is diabetic. When the doctor orders the test, Varun starts to laugh it off but the doctor tells him that he is very serious. Varun goes for the test, pretty confident that the doctor is wrong. After all, who gets diabetes in their 20s. Moreover, Varun is not really obese even if he isn’t fit and he does not consume desserts very frequently. He keeps joking that he has no time for sleep, so how would he be able to make time for a tub of ice cream.
He gets a rude shock when he finds out that his blood sugar levels are about 145mg/dl which is classified as type 2 diabetes. He gets a second test because he is quite sure that the test – just like his doctor – is wrong. But disbelief gives way to shock and panic when Varun gets the results of the second test, confirming that he is indeed diabetic. At 25 years old.
In your 20s, you feel truly invisible. You’re finally unshackled from ridiculous rules that colleges and schools come up with and you are not really as answerable to your parents, especially if you move to another city. Most 20something-year-olds also attain financial independence and of course, this means going wild and eating what you want and often drinking/ partying till you pass out frequently. Unlike your 30 and 40-year-old counterparts who might be dealing with ailing parents or diabetic friends and colleagues, for you, poor health and death are as real as Santa Claus at this point in your life. But diabetes can affect 20-year-olds too, just like it got Varun.
Why we are witnessing diabetes symptoms in 20something-year-olds
The incidence of diabetes in younger people is higher due to high-stress lifestyles and obesity. Although there is no way to pinpoint it, Varun could have developed diabetes on account of excess cortisol released on account of sleep deprivation. When we say there is no way to pinpoint the cause, it is because youngsters can also become diabetic if their mothers had developed gestational diabetes when pregnant with them. Alternatively, some people could also be predisposed to diabetes because of their genes. Lastly, “sweets” are not the only cause of diabetes, but rather foods with a high GI. A host of other lifestyle factors, including depression, could contribute to diabetes.
Diabetes symptoms in 20s to pay heed to
Increased hunger and tiredness – stemming from the glucose being in your bloodstream instead of your muscles where it can be used as fuel.
1. An increased need to pee
this is linked to reabsorption of blood glucose by the kidneys and the consequent need to urinate more often.
2. Increased thirstiness
that emerges from urinating more frequently.
3. Dry mouth and itchy skin
thanks to all that fluid loss
4. Blurred vision
again due to fluid loss
5. Wounds and cuts that don’t heal or that heal very slowly
on account of injured blood vessels and subsequent nerve damage. Did I just say nerve damage? Indeed. Yes, diabetes is that serious. Take diabetes symptoms in your 20s seriously.
6. Yeast infections
because yeast feeds on sugar and therefore you can get yeast infections in areas where you sweat.
7. Pain or numbness in your feet
emerging from nerve damage.
Pay special attention to diabetes symptoms in 20s if
1. You skip meals frequently or eat erratically
It is not uncommon for most young and upwardly mobile corporate executives to forget to eat or put off their meals while they finish a presentation or clear their inboxes or deal with whatever burning issue is standing between them and a meal.
Today’s 20-odd-year-olds are also more likely to eat erratically as they sample diet after diet in pursuit of the perfect Instagram body. All these less than optimally healthy practices are likely to enable erratic blood sugar behavior. No preaching happening here, Gen Z, but if you notice any of the above symptoms, do be sure to get tested.
2. Your mother had gestational diabetes while pregnant with you
In gestational diabetes, a high amount of glucose in the mother’s blood (usually due to a history of low insulin or insulin resistance) causes the fetus to start producing insulin. It turns the excess blood glucose into fat and this could result in a very large infant who might have obesity issues and a higher risk of diabetes in life.
3. You have close blood relatives who suffer from diabetes
Diabetes is hereditary and therefore if either of your parents or your grandparents had diabetes, there is a high chance that you will have it too and therefore you must be extra vigilant of diabetes symptoms in your 20s. Hard truth folks.
4. You are overweight or obese
Being overweight or obese is usually a precursor to diabetes because the volume of inflammatory substances that cause insurance resistance is at a high level and this results in poor insulin usage. If you are overweight you should immediately begin regular exercise and adopt a nutritious diet.
5. You are stressed, anxious, or depressed
The stress hormone cortisol is linked to weight gain and prolonged phases of high cortisol levels can in the long run result in higher levels of blood glucose and therefore diabetes.
6. You do not have the time to get sufficient sleep or suffer from insomnia
Scientists have found a definitive link between lack of sleep and high blood sugar. In one experiment, previously non-diabetic people who were only allowed to sleep four hours a night showed blood sugar readings that meant that they had become prediabetic from just 6 days of sleep deprivation. If you burn the midnight oil more frequently than you do not, or if you get less than 7 to 9 hours of sleep more than one night a week, you are probably at risk. Pay heed if you display diabetes symptoms in 20s.
7. You are a heavy smoker
Nicotine not only increases your blood sugar levels but also results in poor use of insulin resulting in a double whammy effect on blood sugar levels, making them spike.
Diabetes in your 20s is a real thing and should not be taken lightly. If you display diabetes symptoms in your 20s, opt for a test immediately despite your young age and apparent invincibility.