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Caregiver Insights: Senior In Home Care

7 Signs of type 2 diabetes

By Michael Connors LVN on Mar 6, 2016 4:44:49 PM

7 Signs of Type 2 Diabetes

About 30 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes, or about 9% of the population.

Type 2 diabetes is a result from your body not being able to use the human hormone insulin correctly in your daily life. Insulin is needed for the utilization of glucose (sugar) by your body’s cells via one’s Senior_Diabetes_web.jpgblood. Once in your cells that glucose is used for energy. When you don’t have enough insulin glucose accumulates in the blood instead of being used by the cells. Often type 2 diabetes symptoms are unrecognized or attributed to other causes.

Here are the seven most common signs that may indicate that you have or are suffering from type 2 diabetes.

1) FREQUENT URINATION

When one has a higher than normal level of glucose circulating in their blood, the kidneys are triggered to react and flush the excess glucose out of the blood into that person’s urine. This results in a marked increase in having to urinate and the frequency to do so.

Example:  you notice you have to go to the bathroom more often than usual, including getting up at night every couple of hours to urinate and you’re producing more urine when you do go.

 2) INCREASE IN THIRST

High blood glucose levels result in a cascade effect throughout one’s body. High blood sugar will cause an increased production of urine and the need to urinate more. Frequent urination in turn causes an excessive loss of fluids from the body as a whole and can result in a state of dehydration. Consequently, this may result in developing a dry mouth, and feeling thirsty more often than usual.

Example: you’re consuming large amounts of water but yet you still feel like your mouth is dry and you desire more fluids.

3) UNEXPLAINED WEIGHT LOSS

A person with type 2 diabetes does not receive enough glucose in their cells to have proper function of those affected cells.

With this improper cellular function the result may be a marked loss in body weight.

When one is urinating more frequently as in uncontrolled diabetes, they may lose not only more water from their body but also have an increase in calories burned due to the body’s increased workload as it attempts to flush the glucose from the blood.

Example: You have had no changes in diet and no significant change in daily routine but yet your dropping in weight.

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4) INCREASE IN HUNGER

When a person has insulin resistance as they do with Type 2 Diabetes, this means the body cannot use its insulin properly to allow glucose to get into the cells. Insulin itself does not work well inside muscle cells, fat cells or other tissues in the body. The organ that makes insulin is the pancreas. In a type 2 diabetic the pancreas ramps up its production of insulin into blood in attempt to compensate. That increased insulin level results in signals being sent to the brain that tell the body that it is hungry.

Example: You have a sizable meal but you still feel hungry afterwards.

5) FOOT PAIN / NUMBNESS / TINGLING

After a prolonged period of high blood sugar in one’s body, the result can be that of nerve damage throughout the body and the development of a condition called- Diabetic Neuropathy.

Some people may not have any symptoms of the actual nerve damage evident, while some may develop tingling, pain or numbness in their extremities particularly the feet.

Diabetic Neuropathy usually starts in the feet and then it progresses upwards.

Persons who have had type 2 diabetes for over 20 years are the most commonly affected, although it may also occur in people who have prediabetes in lesser numbers as well.

In studies almost 50% of unexplained peripheral neuropathy (neuropathy in the extremities) that presented as painful or numbness, where discovered to be caused by prediabetes or diabetes itself.

Example: Your feeling tingling/numbness in your feet like you do if you cross your legs for a period of time and when you have readjusted your position it does not alleviate the tingling or numbness.

 6) FREQUENT INFECTIONS

When one has an increased blood sugar level within their body, both yeast and bacteria can multiple more quickly.

Women with type 2 diabetes may be more susceptible to vaginal infections as well.

Infections of the extremities in particular the feet can cause damage to the skin, vessels and nerves.

However infections in the extremities are usually seen in those with advanced or long time undiagnosed diabetic conditions.

Example: Development of ulcers, multiple blisters in the lower extremities and or vaginal yeast infections and Urinary tract infections in females.

 7) BLURRED VISION

In a high sugar environment such as with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, the lens’s ability to bend is altered and this can result in blurred vision.
Though the lens is not damaged, the muscles in the eye have to work harder to maintain focus, when there are rapid changes in blood sugar levels i.e. - high to low or low to high. Blurred vision is one of the early warning signs of type 2 diabetes. The body then adapts to the varied levels of blood sugar and your episodes of blurry vision decrease and or vision returns to normal.

Example: after consumption of high sugar foods or early morning blurry vision that comes and goes

WHAT CHANGES CAN YOU MAKE

You can do a lot to prevent or delay developing Type 2 Diabetes.

  • Watch your weight/ Decrease weight
  • Change your eating habits/ amounts consumed / eat healthier foods
  • Stay active / exercise regularly
  • Stop smoking
  • Decrease drinking / moderate consumption of alcohol

If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned  diabetes signs/symptoms, please seek the advice of your medical professional.

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References:

  1. American Diabetes A. Economic Costs of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2007.Diabetes Care.2008; 31:596-615
  2. Narayan KMV, Boyle JP, Geiss LS, Saaddine JB, Thompson TJ. Impact of Recent Increase in Incidence on Future Diabetes Burden: U.S., 2005-2050.Diabetes Care.2006; 29:2114-2116.
  3. 7. Total prevalence of diabetes & pre-diabetes.American Diabetes Association.
  4. Harvard T.H Chan- School of Public Health. http://www.hsph.harvard.edu

Topics: Caregiver Information and Support, Health/Medical