Warning signs of type 2 diabetes
When you have this disease, your body does a poor job turning the carbohydrates in food into energy. This causes sugar to build up in your blood. Over time it raises your risk for heart disease, blindness, nerve and organ damage, and other serious conditions. It strikes people of all ages, and early symptoms are mild. About one out of three people with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it.
People with type 2 diabetes often have no symptoms. When they do appear, one of the first may be being thirsty a lot. Others include dry mouth, bigger appetite, peeing a lot – sometimes as often as every hour – and unusual weight loss or gain.
Signs of serious problems
In many cases, type 2 diabetes is not discovered until it takes a serious toll on your health. Some red flags include:
Cuts or sores that are slow to heal, frequent yeast infections or urinary tract infections, itchy skin, especially in the groin area.As your blood sugar levels get higher, you may have other problems like headaches, blurred vision, and fatigue.
Risk factors for diabetes
Some health habits and medical conditions related to your lifestyle can raise your odds of having type 2 diabetes.
These include being overweight, especially at the waist, a couch potato lifestyle, smoking, eating a lot of red meat, processed meat, high-fat dairy products, and sweets, unhealthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels among others.
Other risk factors
Race or ethnicity: Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, and Asians are more likely to get it. Family history of diabetes: Having a parent or sibling with diabetes boosts your odds.
Age: Being 45 and older raises your risk of type 2 diabetes. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you’ll get type 2 diabetes.
Diagnosis and management
Your doctor will take some blood and do an A1c test. It shows your average blood sugar level over the past 2-3 months. If you already have symptoms, he might give you a random blood glucose test, which shows what your current level is.
You can control blood sugar levels by changing your diet and losing extra weight. That will also cut your risk of complications. Carefully track the carbohydrates in your diet. Keep amounts the same at every meal, watch how much fat and protein you eat, and cut calories. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian to help you make healthy choices and an eating plan.
Regular exercise, like strength training or walking, improves your body’s use of insulin and can lower blood sugar levels. Being active also helps get rid of body fat, lower blood pressure, and protect you from heart disease. Try to get 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week.
Medications such as new drugs called non-insulin injectables are available for people with type 2 diabetes. These medications cause your body to make insulin to control blood sugar levels.
Your doctor can show you how to use a glucose meter to check your blood sugar. This lets you know how your treatment plan is working. How often and when you test will be based on how well controlled your diabetes is, the type of treatment you use, and how stable your blood sugar is. Common testing times are when you wake up, before and after meals and exercise, and at bedtime.