Will You Be Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes?
Key signs and symptoms to watch out for and how to lower your risk
Urinating frequently, feeling very thirsty and having an insatiable appetite may appear to be nothing more than minor annoyances. As a result many people simply ignore the issues – trusting they will eventually subside.
However, these seemingly insignificant problems are actually three of the most common symptoms of type two diabetes – a condition that’s becoming increasingly prevalent across the globe. A report recently published by the World Health Organisation revealed the number of adults with type one or two diabetes has quadrupled in the past 35 years – now affecting 422 million people worldwide.
The report didn’t differentiate between type one or type two diabetes – but experts say the surge in cases is predominantly down to type two, which is linked to an unhealthy lifestyle.
As a result, it is vital for people to learn to recognise the risk factors for type two diabetes – as well as common symptoms – to properly prevent, or treat, the disease.
Top risk factors for type two diabetes
Type one diabetes occurs when the body stops making insulin because the immune system is attacking the cells where insulin is produced. The condition largely depends on genetics, environmental factors and potentially even exposure to viruses. However, type two diabetes is a very different condition – largely triggered by preventable lifestyle factors. It occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin – or isn’t using its insulin as efficiently as it could. Some characteristics of type two diabetes are beyond a person’s control, experts at the American Heart Association note, including:
Race or ethnic background Age
History of gestational diabetes
But, there are also a myriad of modifiable risk factors that also put people at risk of developing the disease, such as: Being overweight or obese Physical inactivity Untreated high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels Before people develop type two diabetes, they typically experience a condition known as prediabetes.
With prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal – but not yet high enough to be considered as diabetes, the American Diabetes Association said. People with prediabetes are on the road to developing type two diabetes – but also have higher risks of developing stroke or heart disease as well, experts warn.
Top symptoms of type two diabetes
The symptoms of type two diabetes often develop slowly – and largely go unnoticed at first.
The Mayo Clinic reported that people can have type two diabetes
for years without realising it. However, when the symptoms do set in, there are a few key changes to look out for. Frequent urination and increased thirst are two major signs – which occur when excess sugar building up in the bloodstream pulls fluid from the tissues. “When that occurs, people are often left thirsty – and therefore, they may drink and urinate more than usual,” Mayo Clinic said. Another major symptom is increased hunger, which occurs because of a lack of insulin. When there isn’t enough insulin to move sugar into the cells, a person’s muscles and organs become depleted of energy – which triggers intense hunger. Furthermore, people with type two diabetes may also experience extreme weight loss at first. They are often eating more than usual to relieve hunger – but still losing weight.
That’s because their ability to metabolise glucose is diminished, which causes the body to use alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat.
Their calories are then lost when excess glucose is released in the urine. Other common symptoms include:
Patches of darkened skin
Top complications of type two diabetes
There are a number of serious health complications that can arise as a result of type two diabetes.
The condition dramatically increases a person’s risk of heart and blood vessel disease – in addition to heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis and high blood
pressure, according to the Mayo
Additionally, diabetes can cause nerve damage, or neuropathy, as a result of excess sugar that injures the walls of tiny blood vessels that nourishes the nerves. That can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain in the toes or fingers. Some other major complications include:
How to prevent type two diabetes
If a person has any of the diabetes risk factors - or has been diagnosed with prediabetes - there are a number of lifestyle changes they can make to prevent the disease from developing.
Losing five to seven per cent of their body weight can slash a person’s risk.
Additionally, their risk of diabetes decreases even more if they continue to lose more weight. The American Heart Association suggests people at risk for diabetes achieve at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity – or 75 minutes each week of vigorous physical activity. Or, a person could also complete a combination of the two forms of activity, with strength-training at least two days per week as well.