What are the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes happens when the body is unable to metabolize glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of glucose, in blood, which over time may damage the organs of the body.

It is a condition when our body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin and thereby, the cells are unable to use blood sugar efficiently. For detecting diabetes, you must be aware of the signs/ symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Schematic representation: Type 2 diabetes with a high glucose level – 

Early signs of type 2 diabetes:

Early signs of type 2 diabetes

Before being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, our body exhibits a warning prodrome called pre-diabetes. It occurs when your blood glucose level is higher than normal but not high enough to be called type 2 diabetes.

What are normal blood sugar levels?

Normal blood sugar levels are less than 100 mg/dL after not eating (fasting) for at least eight hours. And they’re less than 140 mg/dL two hours after eating.

What are abnormal blood sugar levels?

Abnormal blood sugar levels, for adults, are more than 130 mg/dL before a meal (fasting) and more than 180 mg/dL two hours after eating.

During the pre-diabetes stage, the hormone insulin, produced in the pancreas, is not able to take in glucose from the blood efficiently. This increases the amount of sugar in the blood and eventually leads to insulin resistance.

People with insulin resistance and pre-diabetes are most likely to develop diabetes, and due to a sedentary lifestyle – the situation may worsen.

Post-symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Post-symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Once you enter into the diabetes phase, you will notice the following symptoms/ signs. These changes are gradual, and more often than ever, are likely to be ignored.

  1. Increased thirst
  2. Frequent urination
  3. Fatigue
  4. Excessive hunger
  5. Blurred vision
  6. Unintended weight loss
  7. Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  8. Slow-healing sores

If these signs are ignored, one may end up with the undermentioned chronic symptoms of Diabetes, like-

  1. Yeast infections (candidiasis)
  2. Tingling or numbness in the feet
  3. Acanthosis Nigricans (dark skin patches under armpit, neck, thighs)
  4. Neuropathy (nerve damage)
  5. Foot pain

Risk factors

Risk factors

Certain factors which aggravate the risk of type 2 diabetes include:

  1. Family history – If one of your family members has diabetes, then the chances for you to acquire diabetes increase.
  2. Obesity – Abdominal fat triggers the fat cells to release pro-inflammatory chemicals, which affects the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
  3. Ethnicity – People belonging to ethnic groups like Hispanic/ Latino Americans, African-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Alaska natives have a higher chance to get type 2 diabetes.
  4. Polycystic ovary syndrome / PCOS (formation of cysts on the ovaries) – Women with PCOS have an increased risk of insulin resistance and gestational diabetes.
  5. Age – The probability of getting type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after 45 years. 
  6. Gestational diabetes – Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to get type 2 diabetes.
  7. Sedentary lifestyle – A major cause of weight gain which can ultimately lead to type 2 diabetes. However, staying active increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin and lowers insulin resistance.
  8. Insulin resistance – Due to insulin resistance, the body cells are unable to use insulin effectively which increases the blood sugar level in blood and can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes at an early age 

The spike in pediatric type 2 diabetes cases is a really big setback. The widespread poor lifestyle habits, in children, have led to an increase in the incidence rate of diabetes.

The factors which have brought the children at diabetic risk are:

  • Childhood obesity due to unhealthy eating habits. Consumption of high-sugar and high-fat diet lowers the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
  • Higher rate of gestational diabetes. Children have a greater chance of developing diabetes if their mother was suffering from gestational diabetes.
  • Children have acquired a sedentary lifestyle, avoid playing outdoor games, and prefer using their phones 24/7.
  • Children of races like African American, Hispanic, Alaska Native, Asian American, and Pacific Islanders are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. 

The youngsters are at a much higher risk of developing serious diabetes complications (like heart and kidney damage, retinopathy, etc) as compared to adults.

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms

The negative physical changes that occur in a person’s body due to a particular disease are considered as the physical symptoms of that disease.

All the aforementioned symptoms of type 2 diabetes are related to the physical state of a person. Such symptoms include increased urination, blurred vision, poor wound healing, weight gain, frequent hunger, dark patches of skin, and foot pain.

Mental symptoms

Mental symptoms

Do you think that Diabetes only affects your physical well-being? A sudden change of lifestyle from sedentary to an active one will surely disturb your mental health. 

Impacts of diabetes on the mental health condition of a person:

  1. Diabetes Distress – A condition when a person feels irritated, defeated, or overwhelmed by diabetes. It occurs as a natural reaction when a person worries about how to manage diabetes or feels tensed of getting diabetes complications.
    Solution – 
  2. Talk to your healthcare professional about your anxiety before diabetes distress converts into diabetes burnout(This happens when you stop taking your medications on time, skip insulin doses, and lose your hope of controlling diabetes), Mood swings – Fluctuations in blood sugar levels affects a person’s mental state, which can result in negative moods like aggression and irritability. High glucose level leads to difficulty in coordination and decision- making ability of a person.

To maintain your mental well-being, you need to control and manage diabetes.

  1.  Stress and depression – Depression makes it difficult to manage diabetes. Under stress, you won’t be able to stick to your treatment plan. If you notice symptoms of diabetes like changes in sleep patterns, anger, trouble in concentration, etc, then you must consult a mental health professional right away.

The Bottom Line

Do not ignore the symptoms of diabetes. If you notice even one or more diabetes signs, visit a doctor and get your blood glucose level checked. This immediate action will protect you from the dreadful result of diabetes complications.

However, your constant hard work and determination can reverse Diabetes cycle in the long run.

The following two healthy changes will prove that you are on the right track to Diabetes Reversal:

  1. Your blood sugar level remains normal for a long duration.
  2. The medication requirement has come to an end.

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