According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, an estimated 1.2 million Australians have diabetes – about 4.9% of the population.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. While type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that usually presents itself in childhood or early adulthood, the effects of type 2 diabetes are often more gradual. Type 2 diabetes can occur at any age, but is more likely to progress after the age of 45.
If you are developing type 2 diabetes, you may notice some of the symptoms in the early stages. Here is a closer look at the early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a condition that impairs your body’s ability to regulate and use sugar (glucose). Individuals who suffer from type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin in the pancreas. Insulin is needed to regulate sugar.
Without treatment or management, type 2 diabetes increases the circulation of sugar in the bloodstream, which leads to an increased risk of complications like nerve damage, heart disease, kidney disease, and eye damage.
Early Warning Signs of Type 2 Diabetes
Individuals with blood sugar levels between 100 to 125 mg/dl are considered prediabetic. Yet, many diabetics experience mild symptoms for years before serious health problems arise. Paying attention to the warning signs of diabetes may result in early detection, allowing you to use natural treatments for diabetes to avoid serious complications and even reverse the condition.
Some of the most common early warning signs of type 2 diabetes which might occur in individuals of any age include:
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling
- Reduced recovery rate
- Dark or thick patches of skin
Keep in mind that these symptoms may also appear due to a wide range of other conditions and diseases, including minor issues that may pass without treatment. Doctors typically recommend scheduling an appointment if symptoms persist for several days or worsen.
Changes to Weight and Appetite
Increased appetite and thirst are common symptoms of type 2 diabetes. As the cells cannot efficiently use sugar for energy, you may feel hungry more frequently throughout the day. For example, you may become hungry shortly after eating.
The lack of insulin may also cause the body to burn fat for energy instead of sugar, which can lead to weight loss. However, weight loss is not as common a symptom. Individuals who do not exercise regularly and have diets that are high in sugar are more likely to gain weight.
Frequent Urination and Urinary Tract Infections
Type 2 diabetes limits the body’s ability to use glucose, which allows glucose to build up in the bloodstream. The buildup of glucose forces the body to obtain fluid from tissues, leading to frequent urination.
Frequent urination often leads to increased thirst, creating an ongoing cycle that puts more strain on the kidneys. These symptoms increase the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Diabetes May Cause Blurred Vision and Numbness
With type 2 diabetes, the body obtains fluid from tissues, including eye lenses, to deal with the buildup of glucose in the bloodstream. Taking fluid from the lenses of the eyes may cause blurred vision.
The increased blood sugar levels also impact blood circulation. Without proper circulation, you may experience numbness in the extremities. People with type 2 diabetes often experience numbness in the hands, arms, feet, and legs.
Fatigue Is Often an Early Sign of Diabetes
As mentioned, type 2 diabetes limits the body’s ability to use glucose for energy, which can leave you feeling fatigued. You may have a lack of energy and have trouble with everyday tasks, such as walking up a flight of stairs.
Increased urination adds to the fatigue, as frequent urination may cause dehydration. Individuals that suffer from anaemia are also more likely to experience fatigue when dealing with high blood glucose levels.
Wounds May Take Longer to Heal
Slow wound healing is a common symptom of type 2 diabetes. High levels of blood glucose limit blood circulation, making it more difficult for blood to reach the damaged areas and repair tissue.
Wounds and sores that take longer to heal increase the risk of infections, which makes this one of the more serious symptoms of type 2 diabetes. If you suspect that a wound or sore is not healing in an appropriate amount of time, see a doctor to have your blood glucose levels tested.
Diabetes May Cause Skin to Darken or Thicken
Individuals with type 2 diabetes may experience acanthosis nigricans, which is a skin condition that causes the skin to darken or thicken in certain areas. It commonly appears around the folds in the armpits, groin, and neck area.
The symptoms include hyperpigmentation and hyperkeratosis. Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin. It may turn brown, black, or grey. Hyperkeratosis is the thickening of the skin. The skin may appear dry and rough.
Acanthosis nigricans is associated with insulin resistance. Increased blood sugar levels may allow the skin cells to reproduce too quickly, causing the skin to darken or thicken.
How Is Type 2 Diabetes Treated?
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed using blood tests. Treatment may include medications for patients who cannot maintain their target blood sugar level with lifestyle changes; medications are typically prescribed to help lower insulin levels.
As for natural treatment for diabetes, this includes lifestyle changes such as:
- Maintaining a low-carb diet
- Maintaining a healthy body mass index
- Engaging in more physical activity
- Avoiding drinking and smoking
- Getting adequate rest
Seek Consultation If Necessary
Individuals who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes often experience symptoms for many years. Detecting the early signs of diabetes may give you time to make lifestyle changes and avoid becoming diabetic.
Common early signs include changes to weight and appetite. You may also experience frequent urination, blurred vision, numbness, and fatigue. If these symptoms last more than several days or become more severe, schedule an appointment to get screened for diabetes.