According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 100 million Americans are living with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. But there are still a lot of people who don’t know they have this dangerous disease. Type 2 diabetes is a life-long condition that affects the way your body deals with glucose (a type of sugar) and can lead to neuropathy (nerve damage), blindness, kidney disease, heart disease, etc.
What is type 2 diabetes and what causes it?
People with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes have insulin resistance, which means their cells cannot use insulin to turn glucose into energy. This causes buildups of sugar in the blood. Typically, a combination of the following factors causes type 2 diabetes:
- excess weight;
- metabolic syndrome;
- miscommunication between cells;
- beta cells send out the wrong amount of insulin;
- excess glucose production by the liver.
Recognizing type 2 diabetes early on
Although type 2 diabetes can lead to extremely dangerous complications, it may cause mild or even negligible symptoms. Therefore, many people don’t even feel the symptoms. However, they are not the lucky ones. The asymptomatic disease is still present and can be recognized when the damage has already been done. How to identify type 2 diabetes? Look for these symptoms:
1. Frequent urination
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One of the most common symptoms a person with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes may experience is frequent need to use the bathroom. It happens due to excess amount of glucose in the blood. The kidneys start to work harder to flush it into the urine, making more urine than needed.
2. Feeling thirsty all the time
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This symptom is connected to the first one. You lose a lot of fluid when kidneys make more urine in the attempt to decrease blood sugar levels. The body becomes quickly dehydrated and signals your brain about it. This makes you feel very thirsty all the time.
3. Unexplained weight loss
When your cells cannot get enough of glucose, and you lose a lot of water and calories through frequent urination, you might start losing weight.
4. Feeling hungry more than usual
Type 2 diabetes prevents the body from using insulin correctly, which forces your pancreas to create more. This leads to increased levels of insulin in the blood. Your brain interprets such levels as hunger.
5. Numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and feet
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Increased sugar levels in the blood can cause nerve damage, a condition called diabetic neuropathy. This condition starts from the extremities and typically occurs in people who have type 2 diabetes for more than 20 years. Nevertheless, it can even occur in people with prediabetes.
6. Frequent yeast infections and feminine health issues
Many types of yeast and bacteria love sugar as much as we do. Therefore, elevated levels of sugar in the blood lead to a quick expansion of their colonies. The immune system often cannot handle that, which leads to frequent infections.
7. Blurred vision
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Because of uncontrolled levels of sugar, the ability of our eyes to focus deteriorates. The muscles have to work harder in order to focus properly. Experts say, that eye muscle simply cannot adapt to quick changes in blood sugar, which is why it is one of the earliest symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Later, the vision goes back to normal.
Please, share this article to help others recognize the disease early on and prevent any possible complications. Diabetes is not a sentence – it can be managed.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.