Our body needs insulin to metabolize sugars which are the end product of carbohydrate breakdown. Insulin, produced by a gland called pancreas, helps the body to use glucose for energy. In type 2 diabetes the individual’s pancreas do not produce enough insulin i.e enough to meet the increased demand, due to the fact their body doesn’t respond properly to insulin.
Type 2 diabetes can affect all people, regardless of age. Early symptoms of type 2 diabetes may be missed, so those affected may not even know they have the condition. Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. Here is a list of important symptoms to look for-
- Increased thirst or a Dry Mouth /polydipsia- Excess sugar building up in your bloodstream causes fluid to be pulled from the tissues. This may leave you thirsty. You may notice that you are drinking more than usual and still your mouth often feels dry and you feel thirsty.
- Frequent urination/ polyuria- When there is excess glucose present in the blood, the kidneys react by flushing it out of the blood and into the urine. This results in more urine production and the need to urinate more frequently
- Excessive Hunger /polyphagia – since the body cannot use insulin properly to help glucose get into the cells, your pancreas (the organ that makes insulin) starts to put out a lot more of it to try and compensate. Such high insulin levels in the body send signals to the brain that your body is hungry.
- Unexpected weight loss – your cells don’t get enough glucose, which may cause you to lose weight.
- Fatigue- Since 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
- Headaches – occur due to persistent high blood sugar levels.
- Infections – both yeast and bacteria multiply more quickly when blood sugar levels are elevated so, people with diabetes are at higher risk of developing itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
- Slow-healing sores / cuts – diabetes affects your ability to hear
- 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
- Pain and Numbness – a prolonged exposure to high blood sugar can damage the nerves throughout the body — a condition called diabetic neuropathy
- Sexual Dysfunction – diabetes can damage the blood vessels and nerves in the sex organs causing decreased sensation, potentially leading to difficulties in sexual life.
It is worthwhile to get yourself tested if you notice one of these symptoms in extreme or a combination of these symptoms especially if you already have risk factors like family history, obesity, sedentary lifestyle or if you consume alcohol or smoke regularly.