The Warning Signs of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is an incurable metabolic condition in which the body can’t break down insulin in the bloodstream. In the early stages of type 2 diabetes, the pancreas compensates by producing excess levels of insulin, a necessary compound for converting blood sugar into energy. Eventually, though, the pancreas can’t keep up, resulting in blood sugar levels to reach high, unhealthy levels. Without treatment, excess blood sugar levels can cause complications ranging from vision loss to neuropathy. People who have high blood glucose levels are also at risk of diabetic shock or diabetic comas.
Diabetes is a serious illness that requires lifelong monitoring and treatment. However, diabetics who take their treatments seriously can often live long, healthy and active lives. While many people use medications to help control their symptoms, healthy dieting and regular exercise are the core elements of managing type 2 diabetes over time. People who focus on living healthy lives and keeping their bodies fit and healthy are much less likely to be burdened by troubling symptoms as they grow older. Monitoring blood sugar levels is also important in order to prevent glucose spikes that can be harmful to the body. Additionally, scientists around the world have been inventing breakthrough treatments through innovative means as a way of helping diabetics manage and treat their diabetes. We’ll further discuss these all-new, top-rated treatments later after we’ve covered more ground on the key signs and symptoms that arise from Type 2 Diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can be slowed or even reversed if caught in the early pre-diabetes stages. In this stage, a person may have elevated blood glucose levels, but the pancreas is still producing enough insulin for the body to regulate blood sugar levels. At this point, people who start exercising and switch to healthy diets can often reverse these symptoms before full-blown diabetes occurs. However, once a person crosses the line from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes, there is no going back.
Are you concerned about the symptoms of type 2 diabetes? If you’re in a high-risk demographic for this metabolic condition, then knowing the warning signs of diabetes could help you get the early treatment you need. More than 25 million Americans are believed to have type 2 diabetes, but nearly a quarter of those people haven’t been diagnosed. By being unaware of symptoms, they’re not getting treatment that could slow or even reverse the onset of their conditions.
The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to type 1 diabetes. Two of the most common symptoms are increased thirst and frequent urination, which are both the result of the kidneys attempting to expel excess sugar from the body. In the early stages of diabetes, people may feel persistent urges to urinate, or they may need to get up several times during the night to empty their bladders. This cycle of increased urination and greater thirst can lead to dry mouth when people don’t drink enough water. Unexplained weight loss is another sign of type 2 diabetes, especially in older people who are usually overweight. As the body loses its ability to break down blood sugar, the cells don’t get the glucose they need and the result is weight loss.
Other signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes are the result of poor blood circulation, which happens over time as diabetes causes damage to nerves and blood vessels throughout the body. Diabetic neuropathy can be problematic for people who experience foot pain, tingling or numbness. Without treatment, neuropathy can set in, causing large, open sores that can easily become infected. Vision problems are also common symptoms in people with type 2 diabetes. The eyes are filled with tiny blood vessels that become brittle and damaged, resulting in blurred vision.
For a person who is living with diabetes, few things are more important than eating the right kind of diet. The more high-calorie, high-fat foods you eat, the more your body increases the flow of sugar into the bloodstream. It’s when blood sugar levels reach dangerously high levels that bad things can start happening. Excessive blood sugar can eventually result in eyesight problems, diabetic foot neuropathy pain, tingling in the extremities and an increased risk of heart disease. Damage to the nerves, heart, kidneys and other organs can also occur without proper dieting.
People who are on diabetes diets learn to recognize what they can and can’t eat, and then to plan their meals far enough ahead so that they don’t eat foods that will worsen their symptoms. Foods that are highly recommended for people with diabetes include healthy carbohydrates such as carrots, celery and other types of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fiber-rich foods such as oats and beans that promote healthy weight maintenance are also recommended, as are lean meats such as chicken breast, halibut and salmon. Foods such as fast food, candy, frozen pizzas and TV dinners have no place in the diet of someone with diabetes. Not only can these foods adversely affect blood sugar levels, but these high-calorie foods also promote obesity, and being obese can compound the health risks already created by diabetes.
Regular exercise also helps the body break down blood sugar naturally. In addition, regular exercise can help people lose weight and maintain healthier fitness levels. Not only does this reduce the risk of problems such as diabetic neuropathy, but this also lowers the risk of heart disease, which can be a complication of type 2 diabetes.
The other key components of type 2 diabetes treatment include blood sugar monitoring, medications and insulin therapy. Many people with type 2 diabetes are able to receive insulin injections to maintain blood glucose levels, although some diabetics need medications if their bodies become completely resistant to insulin. As stated earlier, blood sugar monitoring is needed to avoid potentially dangerous blood glucose levels. There are many medications available for people with diabetes, and there are also different options for receiving insulin injections. Various herbal supplements, weight loss techniques, relaxation exercises and other alternative treatments can be of great help to people with diabetes. Talk to your doctor to learn more about which type 2 diabetes treatment options may be best for you.
A few types of insulin that are often used include Novolog, Lantus, Humalog, and Apidra. One of the most common medications prescribed for this disease is Metformin, a medication that helps to lower the production of sugar in the liver. When combined with lifestyle changes, this drug is often very successful at keeping blood sugar levels under control. Sulfonylureas is a medication that may be prescribed to help the body begin secreting more insulin. Meglitinides are often used to treat type 2 diabetes because they also help to encourage your body to secrete even more insulin. DPP-4 inhibitors, SGLT2 inhibitors, thiazolidinediones, and GLP-1 receptor agonists may also be used to treat type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, forward-thinking diabetes research has paved the way for breakthrough treatments by way of innovative technologies that can help with living with diabetes. One example of this is the temporary stick-on tattoo, also known as an “adhesive wearable,” researchers at the University of California, San Diego have discovered as a way to manage blood sugar levels. The electronic sensor on the tattoo paper has the ability to measure a diabetic’s glucose levels continuously throughout the day. Another non-traditional way to treat diabetes today is with an insulin inhaler, which also requires no needle pricking like other traditional monitoring means. Even major brands like Apple and Google are joining the cause: Apple teamed up with the FDA while building their new iWatch accessory, which reportedly will offer a feature for diabetics to monitor glucose levels, while Google is pioneering a smart contact lens with pharmaceutical company Novartis to help diabetics measure blood sugar levels directly from tear fluid. Technological advancements aside, various herbal supplements, weight loss techniques, relaxation exercises and other alternative treatments can be of great help to people with diabetes. Talk to your doctor to learn more about which type 2 diabetes treatment options may be best for you.
For those seeking more information about 2 diabetes, the American Diabetes Association offers information, education, support and other resources, free of charge, to anyone who needs it. Visit diabetes.org for more information on type 2 diabetes, tips for living with diabetes, and even local resources that can help you cover the cost of diabetes supplies.