You can live to 100 with controlled diabetes, but uncontrolled diabetes can kill you in a flash and is the leading cause of blindness and amputation in the U.S.

There is no reason for diabetes to get out of control, yet many people with this condition fail to properly manage it.

Here are signs that diabetes is out of control.

High Glucose Readings

• High blood sugar readings are not normal even for a diabetic.

• Check with your doctor about what your readings should be during key parts of the day such as awakening on an empty stomach; during intense exercise; after exercise; before bedtime, etc.

Increased Urination

• This doesn’t just mean frequency, but quantity.

• There’s more urination and total output because the body is trying to excrete excess blood sugar.

Shutterstock/Serge Vo

• The increased urination of uncontrolled diabetes is NOT from the greater fluid consumption that comes with uncontrolled diabetes’ increased thirst.

Increased Thirst

• High blood sugar induces thirst from dehydration.

• Despite drinking a “ton” of water you may still feel thirsty.

• Filling up on water is not the solution, as this condition can lead to a potentially ketoacidosis from rapid glucose spikes.

• Symptoms of ketoacidosis include nausea, dizziness, stomach pain, loss of consciousness and fruity smelling breath.

Sweet Smelling Breath

• In uncontrolled diabetes, the body breaks down fat for fuel, releasing a chemical called acetone.

• Any odd breath odor, be it sweet, fruity or like chemicals, is a warning sign that nets a prompt ER visit.

Hungrier, Eating More but No Weight Gain

• Blood sugar (glucose) is the body’s chief energy source.

• In diabetes, proper amounts of glucose fail to reach muscle cells.

• The body, desperate for a fuel source, generates hunger pangs (food is fuel).

• Increased food intake will not correct uncontrolled diabetes.

Unexplained Weight Loss

• The aforementioned problem can also be accompanied by weight loss rather than simply not gaining weight.

• Though eating more yet losing weight may be great news to anyone struggling with fat loss and dieting, it’s actually a huge red flag that something is wrong with your body.

Frequent Infections

• More skin infections than usual

• Common infections that take a long time to clear up

• Yeast infections of the genitalia

Cardiovascular Problems

• High blood pressure

• Poor cholesterol numbers

• Abnormal heart rhythm

• Chest pain

Numbness or Tingling

• In addition to damaging blood vessels, uncontrolled diabetes can damage nerves.

• Don’t assume that the new-onset tingling or numbness in your fingers is carpal tunnel syndrome; could be uncontrolled diabetes.

Kidney Problems

• Urine that’s dark or the color of cola or tea

• Frothy urine

• Pain in the lower back

• Chronic urinary tract infections

• Absence of these symptoms do not always mean absence of early kidney disease.

Why So Many Diagnosed Diabetics Let Their Diabetes Get Out of Control

“What most diabetics don’t realize is that [type 2] diabetes is a choice,” says Dana S. Simpler, MD, an internal medicine physician with Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD, who specializes in helping patients treat disease, obesity and diabetes with diet and exercise.

“If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes — you have done it to yourself by eating the standard American diet,” explains Dr. Simpler.

“The fat in the overly processed American diet ‘clogs’ up the insulin receptors on our cells that then block the ability of our bodies to process and absorb carbohydrates and sugars.

“This leads to the high blood sugar in the bloodstream that causes heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness and poor circulation/amputations.

“The American Diabetes Association diet keeps the sugar down, but, never addresses the insulin resistance. Americans who really want to heal their bodies and get rid of diabetes must unclog their insulin receptors by eating a low fat, plant based diet.

“Even supposed ‘low fat’ animal products have too much fat and just keep people diabetic. Good health is not a given; it must be earned.”

The reason uncontrolled albeit diagnosed type 2 diabetes is so rampant is because unhealthy lifestyle habits brought on this metabolic disease in the first place.

Such an individual, having been chronically careless with their health, often continues this carelessness with the management of the disease!

It was too burdensome for them to eat cleanly and stick to an exercise regimen prior to the development of their type 2 diabetes.

Post-diagnosis, it continues to be burdensome for them to take charge of their health and keep on top of what’s going on in their bodies.

There is no reason why a person who’s been diagnosed with diabetes should allow this condition to become uncontrolled.

dana simpler, MD

Dr. Simpler received her medical degree from University of Maryland School of Medicine and has been in practice for over 20 years.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.