Things you should know about type 2 diabetes - NL-046
Type 2 diabetes is a sneaky condition. Also known as a "silent killer', this condition develops over time and in many cases people fail to identify the early signs. In this condition, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin that you need to regulate your blood sugar levels or it develops resistance to the available insulin. This leads to elevated blood sugar levels that damage blood vessels and cause serious health complications. Type 2 diabetes is notorious for increasing one’s risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, limb amputations, blindness, nerve damage and frequent infections.
It is important to understand that blood glucose levels don’t spike overnight. It happens slowly and gradually. It is highly likely that one will be first diagnosed with pre-diabetes, a condition where the blood sugar levels are higher than normal range but still not high enough to be regarded as diabetes. Pre-diabetes may not sound as treacherous and dangerous, but it is a big deal. It is the gateway to the world of diabetes and associated health complications.
Early screening and diagnosis, particularly in people who are high risk, is extremely important as it can slow down disease progression, reduce the risk associated complications or even prevent the complications from getting worse. Did you know diabetes is a leading cause of kidney failure? Early diagnosis may also help reverse pre-diabetes. Losing excess weight, regular physical exercise and eating well can go a long way in cutting down the risk of pre-diabetes cascading into fully blown type 2 diabetes.
Signs that you may have type 2 diabetes
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger and thirst
- Unexplained fatigue
- Slower healing of wounds
- Recurring urinary tract infections
- Fungal infections
- Blurred vision
- Numbness in the feet or hands
- Sudden weight loss
- Dry and itchy skin, especially on the feet and ankles
- Dark, thick, velvety patches on skin folds
- Dry mouth
What puts you at a higher risk?
Family history, being overweight, high blood pressure, high triglyceride levels, old age, gestational diabetes, sedentary lifestyle and not moving much, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are some important risk factors that make one more prone to developing this highly sneaky and dangerous health condition. Stress and smoking also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Again, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier it is to delay or even reverse its development into a full blown disease that is difficult to manage at a later stage.
How to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes?
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Make healthier food choices
- Cut down on sugar and avoid processed foods
- Be physically active
- Get screened regularly, especially if you are at risk
- An J, Nichols GA, Qian L, et al. Prevalence and incidence of microvascular and macrovascular complications over 15 years among patients with incident type 2 diabetes. BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care 2021
- Birkeland et al. Heart failure and chronic kidney disease manifestation and mortality risk associations in type 2 diabetes: A large multinational cohort study. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2020.