The signs, symptoms and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
1. Sometimes there are no symptoms in diabetes?
Unfortunately many conditions including pre-diabetes or borderline diabetes don’t present any symptoms. Possibly one of the reasons why many people don’t catch diabetes in the earlier ‘pre-diabetic phase’ is because they are unaware of either signs ( things seen) or symptoms (things felt). When they do, it’s often too late as they’ve already developed type 2 diabetes. It’s been estimated that only around 10% of people with prediabetes know that they have it because many don’t display any symptoms.
2. Unintentional weight loss in diabetes
While most of us would like to lose a few pounds easily, but in reality, any sort of drastic weight loss that is unintentional, is a red flag for a metabolic disorder like diabetes.
Even though we tend to associate diabetes with obesity and being overweight, blood sugar problems can also cause people to unintentionally drop weight. The Mayo Clinic notes that this could be happening if someone is going to the bathroom more frequently, a common sign and side effects of pre-diabetes.
Glucose, and therefore calories may be lost during frequent urination.
As glucose is unable to reach the cells that need it, pre-diabetes can leave us feeling hungry all the time. Anyone eating a regular and healthy diet but is also losing weight drastically should go seek medical attention right away.
3. Dark skin spots in diabetes
As pre-diabetic and diabetic disease is more common in age, it is sometimes difficult to differentiate these from pigmentation of ageing.
Close attention to our skin to note if there are any changes, can however be particularly important not only for metabolic diseases such as diabetes but also skin cancer.
The latter are more prevalent in areas that have been chronically exposed to sunlight, but because prediabetes can cause dark patches on the skin called acanthosis nigricans, such review may pick up diabetes.
The American Academy of Dermatology notes that these dark patches could be an early warning sign of pre-diabetes and such spots should be checked when noticed.
They go on to say that such a condition usually appears in elbows, armpits, knees, or on the neck, has a velvety texture, and likely occurs because excess insulin causes a rapid growth of cells and is more common in people with obesity — another risk factor for pre-diabetes.”
4. Chronic fatigue in diabetes
Chronic fatigue is unfortunately not as uncommon as was one believed and may be due to many factors, however while we all feel tired from time to time, studies have shown that someone with pre-diabetes will often find that they are chronically tired and fatigued.
To help reduce fatigue, the American Diabetic Association recommend that ‘the adoption and maintenance of physical activity are critical foci for blood glucose management and overall health in individuals with diabetes and prediabetes”. American Diabetes Association
5. Poor sleep in diabetes
Those with either pre-diabetes or diabetes commonly suffer either from insomnia or from Sleep Disordered Breathing
6. Blurred vision in Diabetes
Do you find yourself squinting or rubbing your eyes due to blurry vision? Before moving into a full blown panic that you have diabetes, just know there are many other reasons behind poor vision.
Borderline diabetes is one of many possible reasons. Deena Adimoolam, MD, assistant professor of Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Bone Disease, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in Toronto, told Best Health that eye disease is more likely to occur when a person is suffering from high blood sugar.
This is because the high blood sugar causes “damage to the blood vessels in the eye, which can leak and swell, leading to vision changes,” writes Best Health.
There’s even a known condition involving eye damage that is linked with diabetes which is called diabetic retinopathy. The National Eye Institute notes that this conditions is the leading cause of vision loss among diabetics and the overall blindness in adults.
Best Health cites a study performed by the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) which found that nearly 8-percent of prediabetic patients were diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. Luckily, the condition can be treated if it is found early enough, so any form of blurry vision should be reported to a doctor and be checked out.
This is especially true if it’s experienced in tandem with any other symptoms on this list.
7. Increased thirst in diabetes
Being thirsty all the time is a key sign of prediabetes or borderline diabetes. This is due to the body’s inability to process blood sugars. “Prediabetes is caused when the body is unable to efficiently process blood sugars,” says UPMC endocrinologist Dr. Jason Ng, MD, clinical assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh to Best Health. “
This happens over time as the body builds up a resistance to [hormone that regulates glucose in the blood], a hormone that helps the body control blood sugars.”
When someone is resistant to the hormone that regulates glucose in the blood, their body just begins producing more and more of the hormone in order to keep their blood sugar at a normal level. The body will simply not be able to keep up, so their blood sugar levels will rise.
As previously mentioned, a person with borderline diabetes is urinating more which is another reason why they need more water. According to Bustle, this could be a sign of prediabetes.
8. Frequent Urination as a sign of diabetes
This may seem simply rather annoying at first, but it’s a telltale sign of prediabetes and a possible way to further the unbalance the body’s balance (homeostasis) .
Someone who is developing or has developed borderline diabetes will begin to urinate on a very frequent basis. This is likely linked to the fact that they are also experiencing increased thirst.
Normally glucose would be absorbed by the kidneys through the blood to make urine, and then returned back into the bloodstream explains Leah de Souza-Thomas, BSc MSc MPH. “When a person’s blood glucose levels are abnormally, high not all of the glucose can be reabsorbed, and the excess goes into the urine where its presence draws in more water from the blood. This leads to unusually high volumes of urine.”
9. Diabetes is associated with PCOS
PCOS stands for polycystic ovary syndrome is one of many risk factors for diabetes. This is surprising because to us and researchers, there seems to be no known link between the two.
In fact, the American Diabetes Association why these two conditions are often linked is still unclear, but the main connection is likely [hormone that regulates glucose in the blood].
High levels of this hormone “may contribute to the increased production of male hormones called androgens, which is a symptom of PCOS,” writes Best Health. “PCOS is also associated with being overweight, as is prediabetes — but studies have shown that even normal-weight women with PCOS are at increased risk of high blood sugar.”
Another possible correlation between the two is that women with PCOS are more likely to have gestational diabetes which can increase a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Any woman that is diagnosed with PCOS should also have their blood sugar levels checked by a doctor to make sure they are not at risk for prediabetes.
10. High Cholesterol in diabetes
In addition to high blood sugar levels, prediabetes can cause high cholesterol. Unfortunately, this symptom isn’t something that can really be spotted on its own.
It’s something that only a doctor may notice. The hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate glucose in the blood also “stimulates your liver to increase production of cholesterol,” says Ron Ledoux DC, “Elevated cholesterol, increased triglycerides, and a triglyceride to HDL ratio greater than 3 is an indicator that your blood sugar levels are rising.”
11. Slow Wound Healing in diabetes
Cuts and bruises, just from the wear and tear of everyday life will likely be healed within a few days. Anyone noticing that their cuts and bruises are healing slower than usual should be checked for prediabetes.
“The immune system and circulation play vital roles in wound healing,” says Dr. James Hanna .“If pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes has negatively impacted immune function or circulation, then injuries such as cuts and bruises may be slow to heal.”
12. If you have a family history of diabetes – you have an increased chance of getting it.
Any people who has a known family history of diabetes is at a higher risk of developing diabetes than someone who doesn’t. “There can be a genetic cause for the development of type 2 diabetes due to certain gene mutations,” (Dr. Adimoolam, MD – Mount Sinai Hospital)
“Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing type 2 diabetes due to presence of certain genes than have been passed down from one generation to the next.”
The source cites a European study which found that having a family history of diabetes can increase a person’s chance of developing diabetes by 26-percent. In fact, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), most people who have diabetes will have a close family member who has the condition as well.
“Some data suggests that the risk of type 2 diabetes is five times higher in those with diabetes on both the maternal and paternal sides of the family,” – Dr. Adimoolam.
13. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and diabetes
14. Being overweight and contracting diabetes
15. What can you do?
Clearly then, if you are experiencing any of the above, or more, it makes sense to have a doctor review the signs or symptoms.
Dr. Stephen Bray 2019