by Katherine Allen

The incidence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide. According to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 400 million people were living with diabetes by 2015. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 90% of people with diabetes worldwide have Type 2 diabetes. The WHO has also forecast that by 2030, the number of deaths worldwide due to diabetes will have doubled. Type 2 diabetes occurs when our bodies do not respond effectively to insulin, making them less able to take in glucose from the blood to provide us with energy. Insulin also regulates how fat is used and stored by our bodies. If untreated and high blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, it could have severe consequences and could make you more likely to suffer from other conditions, such as heart attacks, strokes and loss of vision. The good news is that Type 2 diabetes is preventable, and with appropriate management and treatment, its impact can be delayed. Awareness of Type 2 diabetes symptoms is, therefore, essential knowledge to protect yourself and your family. So, what are the main symptoms to look out for?

Increased frequency of urination – In response to raised blood sugar levels, the kidneys work to try to remove sugar from the blood and, in doing so, they make urine. This can result in a person with Type 2 diabetes feeling the need to urinate more often, particularly at night.

Feeling thirsty – As a consequence of more frequent urination, dehydration can occur due to the loss of water from the body, causing people suffering from this condition to feel more thirsty than normal.

Increased hunger – A person who has Type 2 diabetes does not have enough glucose in their bodies, and, as a result, they often feel hungry even if they have only recently eaten.

Fatigue – A lack of glucose can also mean that energy levels are lowered, causing tiredness and fatigue.

Blurred vision – The small blood vessels in the eyes can be damaged by too much sugar in the bloodstream, which can lead to vision becoming blurred. If not treated, permanent loss of vision may eventually occur.

Slow-healing cuts and wounds to the skin – The presence of excess sugar in the blood can cause damage to the body’s blood vessels and nerves. As a result, if a person who has Type 2 diabetes cuts themselves or suffers a skin wound for any other reason, that cut or wound can take longer to heal.

Tingling, numbness or pain in hands and feet – The nerve damage and poor circulation caused by excess sugar levels in the blood can lead to neuropathy—pain or a sensation of tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.

Itching – Itching, burning or redness around the genital area or recurrent incidences of thrush can suggest that you have Type 2 diabetes.

Many of the symptoms referred here could, of course, be suggestive of a number of conditions. However, given the risks associated with leaving Type 2 diabetes untreated, anyone experiencing such symptoms would be well advised to consult with a doctor to mitigate the risk of severe complications.