Will You Be Di­ag­nosed With Type 2 Di­a­betes?

Key signs and symp­toms to watch out for and how to lower your risk

Fiji Sun - - Sun Spectrum - Feed­back: jy­otip@fi­jisun.com.fj.

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:


Vi­sion prob­lems

Slow-heal­ing sores

Fre­quent in­fec­tions

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:

Kid­ney dam­age

Eye dam­age

Foot dam­age

Hear­ing im­pair­ment

Skin con­di­tions

Alzheimer’s disease

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.

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