Type 2 diabetes is the most widely recognized type of diabetes. It happens when glucose levels ascend because of issues with the utilization or creation of insulin.
It can show up at whatever stage in life, however, it is bound to happen after the age of 45 years trusted Source.
It influences more than 30 million trusted Source Americans, as indicated by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it represents 90–95 percent of diabetes cases.
This article takes a gander at the early signs and manifestations of type 2 diabetes, the danger components, and likely complexities.
What is type 2 diabetes?
People with type 2 diabetes do not make or use insulin correctly.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates the movement of blood glucose, or sugar, into cells, which use it as energy.
When sugar cannot enter cells, this means:
- too much glucose collects in the blood
- the body’s cells cannot use it for energy
A doctor may diagnose diabetes if a person’s blood sugar levels are 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl) or above after fasting for 8 hours.
The symptoms of high blood sugar in type 2 diabetes tend to appear gradually. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes will notice symptoms in the early stages.
If a person does experience symptoms, they may notice the following:
- Frequent urination and increased thirst: When excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, the body will extract fluid from tissues. This can lead to excessive thirst and the need to drink and urinate more.
- Increased hunger: In type 2 diabetes, the cells are not able to access glucose for energy. The muscles and organs will be low on energy, and the person may feel more hungry than usual.
- Weight loss: When there is too little insulin, the body may start burning fat and muscle for energy. This causes weight loss.
- Fatigue: When cells lack glucose, the body becomes tired. Fatigue can interfere with daily life when a person has type 2 diabetes.
- Blurred vision: High blood glucose can cause fluid to be pulled from the lenses of the eyes, resulting in swelling, leading to temporarily blurred vision.
- Infections and sores: It takes longer to recover from infections and sores because blood circulation is poor and there may be other nutritional deficits.
If people notice these symptoms, they should see a doctor. Diabetes can lead to a number of serious complications. The sooner a person starts to manage their glucose levels, the better chance they have of preventing complications.
Diabetes may cause a number of health complications if people do not manage it properly. Many of these are chronic, or long-term, but they can become life-threatening. Others need immediate medical attention as soon as they appear.
Complications can arise quickly if blood sugar rises or falls too far.
If blood glucose dips below 70 mg/dl, this is hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.
This can happen if a person who uses insulin takes more than they need for a particular time.
A home blood glucose test can check for hypoglycemia.
It is vital to know the early signs of hypoglycemia, as it can progress quickly, resulting in seizures and a coma. In the early stages, however, it is easy to treat.
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- feeling faint
- heart palpitations
- rapid heartbeat
- mood changes
- loss of consciousness
If symptoms are mild, a person can often resolve low blood sugar levels by consuming:
- a few pieces of hard candy
- a cup of orange juice
- a teaspoon of honey
- a glucose tablet
The person should then wait 15 minutes, test their blood sugar, and if it is still low, they should take another glucose tablet or sweet.
When levels return to above 70 mg/dl, the person should eat a meal, to stabilize their glucose levels.
If they remain low for 1 hour or longer, or if symptoms worsen, someone should take the person to the emergency room.
Anyone who has frequent or severe hypoglycemic episodes should speak to their doctor, as they may need to adjust their treatment plan.
Hyperglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
If blood sugar levels rise too far, hyperglycemia can result. If a person notices increased thirst and urination, they should check their blood sugar levels.
It the level is above the target level that their doctor recomends, they take appropriate action.
Without treatment, high a person with hyperglycemia can develop diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which happens when high levels of ketones collect in the blood, making it too acidic. For this reason, the person should also test their ketone levels.
Ketoacidosis can lead to:
- difficulty breathing
- a fruity smell on the breath
- a dry mouth
- nausea and vomiting
It can be life-threatening. A person with these signs and symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
People who regularly experience high blood sugar should speak to their doctor about adjusting their treatment plan.
Learn more here about the types of emergencies that can arise and what to do if they happen.
Blood glucose testing kits and ketone testing kits are available for purchase online. People should check with their doctor how often they need to test.
Keeping blood glucose within target levels can prevent complications that can become life-threatening and disabling over time.
Some possible complications of diabetes are:
- heart and blood vessel diseases
- high blood pressure
- nerve damage (neuropathy)
- foot damage
- eye damage and blindness
- kidney disease
- hearing problems
- skin problems
Diagnosis and treatment
A doctor can diagnose type 2 diabetes with blood tests that measure blood glucose levels. Many people discover they have high blood sugar during a routine screening test, but anyone who experiences symptoms should see a doctor.
Treatment aims to keep blood glucose levels stable at a healthy level and prevent complications. The main ways to do this are through lifestyle measures.
- following a healthful diet
- reaching and maintaining a healthy weight and body mass index (BMI)
- doing physical activity
- getting enough sleep
- avoiding or quitting smoking
- taking medications or insulin as the doctor recommends