Diabetes is a very rampant health concern worldwide. The most common type of diabetes is Type 2. Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as adult-onset diabetes, is on the rise and can be found in more than 10% of the global population. An estimated 422 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with diabetes according to the World Health Organization. Most people refer to this condition as “high blood sugar”.
This is because diabetes is a result of too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream. This happens when the body doesn’t make enough insulin. Type 2 diabetes is more frequently found in adults, however diabetes in kids is becoming more and more common. The confirmed cases keep exponentially rising with more than 84 million contracting prediabetes (which means they’ll soon be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes). The scary part is that many people are unaware of the fact that they even have prediabetes.
Early Signs and symptoms
Type 2 diabetes doesn’t show clear and prominent signs at first; rather they slowly get worse over time, making it hard to establish if you have it or not.
Here are some early warning signs/symptoms that many diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have experienced:
1. Frequent Urination (especially at night) – One of the most common and clearest signs – when your blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys try to remove the excess sugar by filtering it out of the blood (through urination)
2. Increased thirst – the increase in urination can cause your body to dehydrate leading a person to feel more thirsty than usual
3. Increased Hunger – (Polyphagia) The sugar/glucose in your body is used to feed your cells. When there’s a breach in this process, your cells can’t access the sugar. Therefore, your body is always looking for more fuel, causing constant hunger.
3. Weight Loss -When your body produces and intakes little insulin, your body starts burning fat and muscle to create energy, causing you to lose weight. You also lose more calories through frequent urination.
4. Fatigue – When your body cells lack sugar/glucose, your body is prone to feeling exhausted, which could interfere with your daily life operations.
5. Blurred Vision – Excess sugar in the blood may result in fluids being pulled from your eye lenses, causing them to swell leading to temporary blurry vision.
6. Slow healing of cuts and sores/wounds on your body
7. Tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet
8. Itching and yeast infections
9. Patches of dark skin: (Acanthosis Nigricans) on certain parts of your body – elbows, knees, neck, and knuckles
Please remember to keep in mind these symptoms could vary in children and adults.
The development of type 2 diabetes can be a result of many factors; anywhere from lifestyle choices to genetics. Some risk factors include:
- Lifestyle: Being overweight, lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress, lack of sleep, smoking, consuming foods with lots of sugar and fats
- Genetics: Around 72% of diabetes patients have inherited it from their family.
- Age: your risk increases as you get older ( 45 +)
- Past Medical history:
Heart and blood vessel disease
High blood pressure
Polycystic ovary syndrom (PCOS)
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diabetes type 2 can be diagnosed by a doctor through a simple blood sample test to check and measure your sugar levels. It is recommended that you have routine screening tests and see your doctor if you experience any of the above warning signs.
The treatment includes lifestyle approaches that aim at keeping your blood glucose levels stable, and in the more extreme cases, medication.
- Keep a healthy weight and body mass index
- Cut out refined carbs
- Exercise regularly
- Get enough sleep
- Quit smoking
If these lifestyle changes don’t help fix your sugar levels, seek medical help from a doctor. The most common medications used for type 2 diabetes are:
- DPP-4 inhibitors
- GLP-1 receptor agonists
- SGLT2 inhibitors