Type 2 Diabetes, also known as adult onset diabetes, is a serious medical condition that is defined as having elevated blood sugar. If left unchecked, it can lead to other serious health problems such as
- heart disease
- issues with the nerves
- hardening of the arteries
- damage to the blood vessels
Knowing the early warning signs is important to diagnosing and managing the condition before long-term consequences occur.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes to Happen?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the cells in your body does not produce enough insulin or the cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, acts like a turn key, allowing glucose to enter the cells.
The mitochondria, tiny organelles within the cell, metabolize or breakdown the glucose into usable energy. When glucose fails to enter the cells, it builds up in the blood stream and causes the concentration of sugar in the blood to increase.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Without proper control of sugar levels in the blood, common symptoms occur and should not be ignored. As soon as you notice these warning signs, plan a visit to your doctor to get your blood sugar checked. Here is a list of the common symptoms to look out for:
Raised sugar levels in the bloodstream draw water out from the cells. The water helps to lower the concentration of sugar in the blood. The excess water is eliminated from the body through urination.
If water is not replaced during the day, dehydration can occur. One of the clear signs of dehydration is dry mouth.
Numbness in your feet is an early sign of diabetes. Sugar in the bloodstream pools in the feet and causes crystals to form. The crystals damage nerves in the this region of the body.
Dizziness and fainting
Dizziness and fainting can occur when the levels of sugar in the blood are too high or to low.
Sudden weight loss happens when blood sugar is not monitored and treated. Glucose is the primary chemical used as fuel for the cell. Cells that are insulin resistant will not allow glucose to enter the cell.
In response to this, the body metabolizes and burns stored fat instead. Diabetics begin to lose body fat and weight as a result.
Increase in appetite
After the body loses massive amounts of weight over a short time span, appetite increases. The body will then want to replace the nutrients it has lost. An increase in appetite may cause you to eat more food and calories. If more calories are consumed than your body needs, you will gain weight. If this process goes unchecked, you may gain more weight than you lose.
High blood sugar, if untreated, can cause damage to your eyes. A result of this is blurry vision.
Elevated blood sugar levels causes the blood vessels in the eyes to constrict and less fluid reaches the cells and the tissue. A patient may suffer complete blindness if not diagnosed.
Tiredness and fatigue
Fatigue is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes. This is due to the cells’ inability to allow glucose into the cells. If there is not enough glucose being broken down into usable energy, the sugar builds up in the bloodstream instead.
Sugar thickens the blood and slows down its circulation in the body. Slowing down blood flow prevents oxygen from getting to the cells, further decreasing energy production.
This lack of energy produced by the cell causes chronic sluggishness and sleepiness.
Bruises and cuts that are slow to heal
High glucose levels causes bruises and cuts to heal slowly. Too much sugar in the blood can form solid crystals that shred blood vessels as they travel within the blood.
Poor circulation of blood results due to damaged blood vessels. As a result, bruises, abrasions and cuts can take weeks to heal and infections may develop more frequently.
Swollen, irritated gums are another common symptom of type 2 diabetes. They can be painful, red and look like they are receding from the teeth.
They will also bleed more frequently during brushing. This can lead to infection and gum disease. Proper care of your teeth and gums, as well as controlling your blood sugar, is important.
Proper Management of Type 2 Diabetes
Proper management and control of glucose levels in the blood is vital to avoiding the short and long term symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
Research shows that high blood sugar, when left unchecked, dramatically increases the risk of developing other health conditions such as metabolic syndrome, obesity, heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and cancer.
These health issues can put you into jeopardy and decrease your overall life expectancy. If something doesn’t seem right, please get checked out!