When you eat food, your body produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps your body turn food into energy by controlling the amount of glucose in your bloodstream and regulating your body’s metabolism. In cases of type 2, your blood sugar level is higher than usual. However, your body has stopped producing the adequate levels of insulin, or none at all.
Type 2 is a progressive condition. The best case scenario is to recognize symptoms of high blood sugar. This detection and treatment can slow or eliminate serious future complications from diabetes.
Many people don’t realize they have high blood sugar until they already have type 2 diabetes. Many onset symptoms of type 2 diabetes are mild and go unnoticed. So, what symptoms should you be keeping a close lookout for? If you notice symptoms such as these, you should speak with your doctor.
- Frequent urination – Your kidneys try to filter out excess sugar from your blood. This causes one of the biggest signs your blood sugar is not at the correct levels.
- Increased thirst or hunger – With the biggest symptom being abnormally frequent urination, you may become dehydrated. It is recommended you drink at least 8 cups of water a day! If you have increased thirst you might want to drink more water – which won’t solve the problem of frequent urination. Additionally, not enough glucose is being absorbed in your cells. Your muscles, liver, and fat cells cannot remove the glucose from your blood and use it properly.
- Unintended weight loss – “In people with diabetes, insufficient insulin prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood into the body’s cells to use as energy. When this occurs, the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, causing a reduction in overall body weight”, says Diabetes UK. In this case, eating more would not satiate your hunger or keep your weight stable – your body would still not absorb the glucose from the additional food.
- Fatigue – Dehydration and your body’s inability to absorb glucose can cause excessive tiredness. Fatigue and weakness might result when the cells do not get enough glucose. Also, if you are experiencing excessive urination – this could keep you up at night or disturb your sleep. Read more about type 2 and fatigue in our blog.
- Blurred vision – High blood sugar levels can cause fluid to seep into your lens, distorting your vision. The fluid can affect the blood vessels in one or both eyes.
- Slower healing – you may notice slow-healing sores, as wounds heal slower and progress faster. Less oxygen will be able to reach your narrowed blood vessels if your blood sugar is high. High blood sugar causes circulation and inflammation issues. Therefore, you might notice numbness or pain in your hands or feet caused by poor circulation (eventually can cause nerve damage).
- Dark skin patches – One physically noticeable symptom of high blood sugar is Acanthosis Nigricans. In this case, you would notice dark folds of skin in your neck, armpits or groin. The dark patches aren’t contagious but may indicate a deeper issue such as type 2 diabetes.
- Frequent infections – High blood sugar levels cause your immune system from functioning efficiently. You might notice that you are contracting yeast or urinary tract infections, caused by the excessive sugar in your blood.
Recognizing the early signs can minimize the potential damage and help alleviate further health problems from type 2. Prediabetes is not irreversible if you catch it early on! If you are overweight, over the age of 45, or have a history of diabetes, stroke or heart disease in your family history, you should be especially diligent being on the lookout for these symptoms as you are more likely to develop type 2.
Get to know your body well, know your numbers through routine blood work and checkups and as always – be open and honest to speaking with your healthcare professional if you see symptoms like these. If you or someone you know becomes diabetic, there is always an online community for you. Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together is truly an incredible support group for people wanting to live well with diabetes. That’s right, you CAN live well with diabetes… with the proper support, friends, and knowledge.
Lindsey Sheldon is an international educator working around the globe teaching. Originally from Washington D.C., she spent the last two years learning about Eastern health traditions living in China and traveling throughout southeast Asia. Currently residing in a small beach town, she channels her passion for health and wellness to compile the latest research on building sustainable balanced lifestyles at any age and in any country.