Type 2 diabetes is a common health condition. It causes the level of sugar in your bloodstream to be too high.
Problems with the chemical in your body called insulin can cause type 2 diabetes. The condition is linked to being inactive or overweight, or having type 2 diabetes in your family history. It can create problems like tiredness and needing to relieve yourself a lot.
It can also increase the risk of heart, nerve and eye damage. Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition. If you get it, you may have to take medication, change your diet and have regular check-ups with your doctor.
More than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and approximately 90-95% of them have type 2 diabetes. However, approximately one in five adults who have the condition do not know they have it. Therefore, it is important to know the warning signs of type 2 diabetes. Early diagnosis is essential.
Common Signs of Type 2 Diabetes
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be difficult to recognize because many signs are mild, and you could attribute them to something else. The following symptoms apply to both men and women. If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, you need to see a doctor for diagnosis.
- Frequent urination can be a sign of type 2 diabetes. This is because when there is excess glucose in your bloodstream, your kidneys flush out the blood into your urine. This means you have to urinate more. If you are going to the bathroom more than you used to and you are having to frequently get up at night to go to the bathroom, it could be a symptom of type 2 diabetes.
- Feeling constantly hungry can also be a sign that you have type 2 diabetes. The insulin in people with type 2 diabetes does not work as well in fat, muscle and other tissues. This means their pancreas begins to put out a lot more insulin to compensate, which results in feeling hungry a lot of the time.
- Feeling thirsty a lot is another potential sign of having type 2 diabetes. Because people with type 2 diabetes urinate more frequently, their bodies become more dehydrated. In turn, this leads to having a dry mouth or feeling thirsty more often.
- Blurred Vision can happen due to rapid changes in your blood sugar. The lens in your eye may lose its ability to bend as it can be altered in a high-sugar environment. Although your lenses will not actually be damaged, you can experience blurriness due to your eyes’ muscles having to work harder in order to focus.
- Unintended weight loss is another sign of potentially having type 2 diabetes. The weight loss happens because your cells are not getting enough glucose. You can also lose calories when passing water, so if you are urinating more often, this can contribute to weight loss too.
Women who suffer from numerous and chronic feminine health issues may have type 2 diabetes. Vaginal thrush, yeast infections and bacterial infections can occur due to yeast and bacteria multiplying faster when sugar levels are higher.
Controlling your blood sugar can prevent these problems. Type 2 diabetes can damage your foot’s architecture as well, so foot problems are another symptom. The disease can create problems to the skin on your feet, nerves and blood vessels. However, foot problems are more often seen in people who have advanced diabetes.
Other Signs of Type 2 Diabetes
Although the above list describes the most common signs of having type 2 diabetes, there are other symptoms that can indicate the disease. These include:
- Sores or cuts that are slow-healing.
- Tingling and numbness of the feet and hands.
- Itchiness of the skin, particularly around the groin or vaginal area.
- Acanthosis nigricans, which are dark velvety skin changes on the groin, neck or armpit.
- Loss of consciousness, in rare cases.
Treating Type 2 Diabetes
If you experience any of the warning signs of type 2 diabetes, you should see a doctor to be diagnosed. If you are found to have type 2 diabetes, you may be relieved to know that treatment is available. Common treatment options for type 2 diabetes include:
- Regular exercise.
- Healthy eating.
- Blood sugar monitoring.
- Diabetes medication or insulin therapy.
Doctors encourage everyone to exercise regularly anyway, but it can be particularly good for treating type 2 diabetes. This is because physical activity lowers blood sugar.
Although any single exercise can be good for this, a combination of exercises is best. This can include such activities like walking, dancing and performing aerobic exercises. A combination of those helps to control blood sugar better than one of those activities alone.
Note: Always talk to your doctor before starting, stopping or changing an exercise routine.
Although there is no specific diet for people with type 2 diabetes, doctors often recommend sticking to low-fat, high-fiber foods. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are among the most popular recommendations.
Low glycemic index foods may help as well. These types of food increase your blood sugar quickly and can help you to have a more stable blood sugar. Low glycemic index foods are generally those that are high in fiber.
Your treatment plan for type 2 diabetes could include monitoring your blood sugar. This means checking and recording your level of blood sugar. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to monitor your blood sugar level.
Some people may need to take diabetes medications. Whether or not you need medications depends on various factors, such as the level of your blood sugar and other health conditions you have. Your doctor will inform you as to which medications you need to take, if any.
People who have type 2 diabetes may require insulin therapy too, which involves insulin being injected. There are various types of insulin that can be taken. Some are used throughout the day and night but most need to be administered just once a night. The insulin is injected using a fine needle and syringe or a device called an insulin pen injector.
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