Have you ever experienced an intense thirst that isn’t quenched when you drink water? Or unexplained blurry vision? Wounds that take forever to heal?
These are some of the classic symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes alongside frequent urination, dry mouth, sudden weight loss, and itchy skin. If you prefer to think this condition won’t happen to you, we don’t blame you.
However, if you lead a relatively inactive life or if you’re overweight, chances are you’re at risk. In fact, many perfectly healthy people are diagnosed with this condition - so it can happen to anyone. Diabetes is a challenging disease to have, but it is manageable through diet and exercise. If you experience any of the following, you need to see your doctor;
Unexplained weight loss
If you battle to manage your weight, a sudden drop may not seem like a bad thing. Sadly, when it comes as a symptom of diabetes, it is dangerous. Undiagnosed Type 2 Diabetes can lead to sudden weight loss because the sugar that enters the bloodstream following a meal is not able to enter the cells, where it is used for energy (it needs insulin to do this). The body starts to pull from its reserves, burning fat for energy. The only problem is that this leaves behind a fairly toxic residue, known as ketones. Ketones can be deadly if they build up and lead to a condition called ketoacidosis.
As you have just heard, elevated blood sugar levels mean the energy you have consumed is not reaching your body’s cells, meaning your body can’t use it. The result? Utter exhaustion. In fact, many undiagnosed diabetics also experienced an increase in appetite because the body is essentially starving. This leads to a vicious cycle because the more you eat, the higher your blood sugar levels rise. Do you often get the munchies? Or, instead of a mid-afternoon slump, you are already slumping by mid-morning? If you find yourself struggling to function in the day for lack of energy, it might be due to undiagnosed diabetes.
Now that we know how all of that excess sugar arrived in the blood, where does it go from there? It absolutely cannot stay in the blood. In desperation, the body will try to excrete the sugar through your urine. That’s why you will make numerous trips to the bathroom each night and throughout the day. Do you need to urinate more than twice per night? Get tested for diabetes.
Dry mouth & Excessive thirst
In order to fuel the frequent urination, your body requires copious amounts of water to try and flush the sugar out of the blood. This process is the body’s desperate attempts to return to a healthy state - but it can come at the cost of your kidney health. If you find yourself capable of drinking large amounts of water with no sense of satisfaction, you have one of the clearest markers for diabetes.
There are a number of reasons you could be experiencing blurry vision. If it is related to diabetes, it could be the result of fluid leaking into the lens of your eye, making it difficult to focus. It could also be conditions like macula oedema or glaucoma which are often caused by diabetes. Many newly diagnosed diabetics experienced blurry vision when they start insulin therapy but this settles as the blood sugar levels become stable.
Other Diabetes symptoms: itchiness, skin conditions
Sugar breeds bacteria - so diabetics are always at risk of inflammatory disease and increased bacteria. This can lead to itchy skin conditions and fungal infections, like Dermatophytosis (ringworm) and even conditions like dandruff.
Know Your Health Status
There are many diabetes signs. You may experience all of them, a select few, or only one. The extent to which you experience the symptoms can depend on the severity of your condition.
If you consume alcohol regularly, lead an inactive lifestyle, are overweight or if you have suffered from heart conditions, high blood pressure, or hypertension, you’re already at a higher risk for diabetes type II. Incorporate some whole, fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet and ensure you have regular check-ups with your GP.
Find out more and visit Diabetes Australia for questions, advice, and tips on how to live with Type 2 Diabetes.