How Diabetics Can Keep Their 5 Senses Healthy

How Diabetics Can Keep Their 5 Senses Healthy

Did you know that diabetes doesn’t just affect your blood sugar—it also impacts your five senses? Imagine losing the ability to enjoy the smell of fresh coffee, the taste of your favorite food, or even the sensation of a loved one’s touch. By taking proactive steps, you can protect and even enhance your sensory health.

Sense Changes Are Early Diabetes' Warning Signs

Are you one of the millions of Americans who have diabetes and don’t even know it? The CDC estimates 8.7 million people who have diabetes have NOT been diagnosed and do not even realize they are at risk for complications such as kidney damage, heart disease, limb amputation and more.

Early warning signs of diabetes can be so subtle, you might find yourself missing major red flags before realizing something has seriously gone awry.

Does this sound like you?

👃 Burning food because you no longer can “smell” when it's ready? 

👀 Avoiding driving at night because it’s getting too hard to see?

🦶 Noticing increased tingling or numbness in your hands or feet?

These are ALL potential signs of diabetes and they are also ALL related to one of your 5 Senses. 

Read on to learn how diabetes affects each of your 5 senses, how you can keep them healthy, and how you can test and track sense changes at home.

    Diabetes' Effect on Smell

    A diminished sense of smell can be an early indicator of diabetes, and the disease itself can further reduce olfactory function. Reduced smell is linked to cognitive decline, making it vital to engage in activities that stimulate the olfactory system.

    You can take care of your sense of smell by:

    1. Olfactory Stimulation: Engage in olfactory activities multiple times throughout the day, such as smelling flowers on your daily walks, essential oils, or taking a moment to breathe in deeply before eating. 
    2. Avoid Smoking: Smoking can significantly impair your sense of smell.
    3. Limit Exposure to Pollutants: Try to avoid areas with high levels of pollution and exposure to harsh chemicals that can damage your olfactory receptors.
    4. Track changes in your olfactory health with Research-backed 12-Odorant Tests and determine if you're ability to smell is reduced, normal, dominant, or super.
    Test Your Sense of Smell At Home

    Diabetes' Effect on Taste

    Individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to experience taste impairment compared to those without diabetes. Diabetes can lead to hypogeusia, a reduced ability to taste. This can affect dietary choices and potentially worsen blood sugar control. 

    You can take care of your sense of taste by:

    1. Proper Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss regularly to maintain oral health and support your sense of taste. Use a tongue scraper to remove additional bacteria.
    2. Avoid Smoking and Alcohol: Both can dull your taste buds. Reducing or eliminating these can help keep your sense of taste sharp.
    3. Regular dental visits can help identify and treat any oral health issues that might be affecting your sense of taste, such as gum disease or cavities.
    4. Determine diabetes' impact on your sense of taste with an allergy-safe 4 taste strip test.

    Diabetes' Effect on Hearing

    People with diabetes are 30% more likely to suffer from hearing loss than those without the condition​ (NINDS)​. Hearing loss is more common in people with diabetes, potentially due to damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the inner ear caused by high blood sugar levels.

    You can take care of your hearing by:

    1. Blood Sugar Management: Keep your blood sugar levels within the recommended range to prevent damage to the auditory nerves and blood vessels.
    2. Protect Your Ears: Avoid prolonged exposure to loud noises and use ear protection in noisy environments such as while mowing the lawn or at concerts.
    3. Cardio and Hearing: Regular cardiovascular exercise improves blood circulation, which can help maintain the health of the hair cells in the inner ear that are crucial for hearing.
    4. Monitor your hearing closely with at-home hearing tests or visits to an audiologist to identify hearing changes as soon as possible so you can prevent further decline.
    at home hearing test

    Diabetes' Effect on Touch

    Diabetes can lead to peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects the nerves in your hands and feet, resulting in numbness, tingling, and pain. Severe cases of peripheral neuropathy can lead to complications such as foot ulcers and infections, which, if not properly managed, can result in the need for amputation. In fact, approximately 73,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur annually in the U.S. due to diabetes-related complications. (NINDS)​​ 

    You can take care of your sense of touch by:

    1. Foot and Hand Care: Regularly inspect your feet and hands for any signs of injury or infection, as neuropathy can make it hard to feel these issues. Keep your skin moisturized to prevent dryness and cracking.
    2. Manage Blood Sugar Levels: Keeping your blood sugar levels stable can help prevent or delay the onset of neuropathy.
    3. Regular Activity: Engage in activities that stimulate touch receptors, such as gentle massages, playing with textured objects, or using a stress ball.
    4. Use a research-backed touch sensitivity dial to check for subtle changes in touch sensitivity that you may otherwise miss.

    Diabetes' Effect on Vision

    Diabetes can lead to a range of vision problems, from blurred vision to severe conditions like diabetic retinopathy. Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 20-74. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the retina, leading to vision impairment and even blindness.

    You can take care of your eyesight by:

    1. Monitor Blood Sugar Levels: Keeping your blood sugar levels within the target range can help prevent damage to the retinal blood vessels.
    2. Healthy Diet: Include foods rich in antioxidants like leafy greens, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, and colorful fruits in your diet to support eye health.
    3. Eye Exercises: Regularly exercise your eyes by staring off into the distance and trying to make out details in leaves or other small objects. 
    4. Changes can be subtle and fast, so closely monitor eye health with at-home eye tests or frequent visits to your eye doctor. 
    a woman taking care of her eye health with at home eye testing

    Testing Your Senses Keeps You Informed

    Maintaining and regularly testing your five senses is crucial, especially for diabetics, as it can help you detect early warning signs of complications and manage your health proactively.

    1. Know Your Baseline: Understand where your sensory abilities currently stand using tools like the SuperSenses Complete 5 Senses Discovery Kit.
    2. Track Changes: Monitor any changes over time to detect potential declines, which can happen rapidly with conditions like diabetes. You can easily do this in the SuperSenses app.
    3. Surprising Results: 94% of people who use SuperSenses report that they were surprised by their results. Changes in senses can be subtle and difficult to detect without the help of science-backed tests.
    4. Test Confidently: SuperSenses was developed by doctors and uses research-backed methods for sense testing.  We offer a 90-day, no questions asked, refund policy to ensure you feel confident in your choice to test your 5 senses at home.
    5. Gain Insights: SuperSenses doesn't just give you the ability to test your senses at home, we offer a comprehensive results report and access to our Insights feature, which empowers you with research, lifestyle advice, and recommendations on what to do about the current state of your senses.
    SuperSenses Sense Status Report

    Remember to engage in activities that stimulate and protect your senses, and use the SuperSenses  Complete 5 Senses Discovery Kit. to track your sensory health at home. By taking these steps, you can better manage your diabetes and enjoy a healthier, more vibrant life.

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