Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown, although genetics and environmental factors, such as excess weight and inactivity, seem to be contributing factors.
Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. In fact, you can have type 2 diabetes for years and not know it.
Look for Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes:
Increased thirst and frequent urination. Excess sugar building up in your bloodstream causes fluid to be pulled from the tissues. This may leave you thirsty. As a result, you may drink — and urinate — more than usual.
Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted of energy. This triggers intense hunger.
Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, you may lose weight. Without the ability to metabolize glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat. Calories are lost as excess glucose is released in the urine.
Fatigue. If your cells are deprived of sugar, you may become tired and irritable.
Blurred vision. If your blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes. This may affect your ability to focus.
Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. Type 2 diabetes affects your ability to heal and resist infections.
Areas of darkened skin. Some people with type 2 diabetes have patches of dark, velvety skin in the folds and creases of their bodies — usually in the armpits and neck. This condition, called acanthosis nigricans, may be a sign of insulin resistance.
There was a time when type 2 diabetes was rare among people below the age of 60. These days, due to sedentary lifestyles, overeating, and excess weight, even children and teenagers are not immune to it, and the condition is increasingly common in people in their late twenties.
People with diabetes are unable to regulate their blood glucose levels. This can be due to insufficient insulin production, the body’s inability to make use of the available insulin (insulin resistance), or a combination of both.
As a result, a diabetic’s blood glucose levels keep fluctuating beyond normal limits. Their body either goes through a starvation mode due to very low blood glucose levels or excess glucose creates complications.
High blood glucose (hyperglycemia) eventually damages critical organs and systems like the liver, kidneys, nerves, circulatory system, and the reproductive system. In fact, people with diabetes have twice the normal risk of getting a heart attack or stroke.
Although there are many symptoms of type 2 diabetes, they are usually inconspicuous in the initial stages. The condition is mild at first, but gradually develops over time. This gradual progression makes symptoms less noticeable as people slowly get used to them over time and don’t realize anything is wrong. Many people discover they have type 2 diabetes after a routine blood or urine test.
Being aware of type 2 diabetes symptoms can save your life. If you experience one or more of the above symptoms, see your doctor or get a blood test done without delay.
As the condition can often remain hidden, it is also important to periodically check for diabetes. The good news is, the problem is easy to detect and manage at any stage. Early detection makes treatment easier and prevents other complications.