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Early Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

4 min read

By Katherine George

Type 2 diabetes is a prevalent and potentially serious health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. We delve into the early indicators of type 2 diabetes, empowering readers to recognize these signs, seek medical advice, and make informed lifestyle choices to prevent complications. Continue reading online to learn more about the early signs and symptoms before contacting a doctor.

Excessive Hunger

Extreme hunger, known as polyphagia, is associated with types 2 diabetes due to fatigue and cellular deprivation, explains VeryWell Health. When cells become resistant to insulin, glucose levels in the blood remain elevated.

As a result, the source states that the cells are unable to effectively utilize glucose, leading to the release of hormones that signal hunger to the brain. Overeating can exacerbate the situation by causing further elevation of blood sugar levels, adds the source.

Frequent Urination

Frequent urination, especially during the night, can be a potential symptom of diabetes, as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). When there is excess glucose in the bloodstream, the kidneys work intensively to eliminate it. Health.com says this is what results in increased urine production.

Increased Thirst

People with type 2 diabetes might also notice they are more thirsty. As glucose in the urine draws water, the body loses more fluid than necessary, explains the source. This leads to increased thirst as the body tries to compensate for the fluid loss.

According to Maria Collazo-Clavell, MD, a Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, these two symptoms, increased urination and excessive thirst, often occur together as the body’s response to managing high blood sugar levels.

Recurring Infections

Individuals with type 2 diabetes are more prone to bacterial, fungal, and yeast infections. High blood sugar levels in diabetes can lead to sugar in the urine, explains Healthline. This increases the risk of urinary tract and yeast infections. Gum and skin infections are also common, adds the source.

Fatigue

The primary source of fuel for our body is glucose, explains VeryWell Health, and is derived from the breakdown of carbohydrates in food that is consumed. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas’ beta cells, plays a crucial role in transporting glucose from the bloodstream into the cells, adds the source. It’s is then used as energy.

In diabetes, there are two common scenarios: either the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced is not effectively utilized by the body due to insulin resistance. In this case, the source notes that cells become less responsive to its actions. As a result, the cells are deprived of glucose, leading to a shortage of energy and the experience of extreme fatigue.

Unexplained Weight Loss

The CDC reports unintentional and rapid weight loss as another symptom of type 2 diabetes. Excessive levels of blood sugar can trigger substantial weight loss, typically ranging from 10 to 20 pounds within a span of two to three months, says Health.com. However, it is important to note that this weight loss is not considered healthy.

Due to inadequate insulin function, which hampers the entry of glucose into cells for energy utilization, the source explains that the body interprets it as a state of starvation. Consequently, the body starts breaking down muscle protein as an alternative fuel source.

Blurry Vision

Elevated levels of sugar in the bloodstream can have detrimental effects on the delicate blood vessels in the eyes, warns Medical News Today. As a result, it may cause blurry vision. This can occur in either one or both eyes, adds the source. resulting in blurry vision.

Additionally, high blood sugar levels can lead to swelling of the eye lens, which also contributes to blurry vision. However, Medical News Today says once blood sugar levels are brought under control, this blurriness typically improves. Without proper treatment for diabetes, the damage to these blood vessels can escalate, potentially leading to more severe consequences.

Over time, the source notes that permanent vision loss becomes a real possibility.

Numbness and Tingling

Diabetic neuropathy, a symptom of type 2 diabetes, is characterized by gradual development of numbness, tingling, or a “pins and needles” sensation in the arms or legs. VeryWell Health explains the cause as excess sugar in the body which damages the nerves.

Maintaining normal glucose levels helps prevent further nerve damage and reduces symptoms. In cases of severe neuropathy, medication may be necessary.

Slow Healing Wounds

In addition to numbness and tingling, VeryWell Health points out that people with type 2 diabetes may also notice wounds heal slower than normal. The reason for this is because thickened blood with elevated sugar levels can impede circulation.

As a result, it’s difficult for blood to reach healing areas. Anyone with slow healing wounds, cuts, or bruises may have high blood sugar.

Dark Skin Patches

Acanthosis nigricans is a dark and velvety discoloration in skin folds, explains Healthline. It is also known to be an early warning sign of type 2 diabetes. It commonly appears in the armpits, neck, and groin areas, accompanied by thickened skin.

The condition is caused by an excess of insulin in the blood. According to Healthline, this is often observed in individuals with type 2 diabetes due to insulin resistance, a primary precursor to the development of this type of diabetes.

Senior Managing Editor

Katherine is the Senior Managing Editor of ActiveBeat and Childhood. She is constantly striving to live a more active and healthy life, from eating healthy, exercising, and just spending more time outdoors. She enjoys cooking (with wine), walking her dog, reading, and recently joined a yoga studio!

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