Symptoms of type 2 diabetes: thirst, hunger, weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, poor wound healing, etc.
Type 2 diabetes is a disease that takes many years, often decades to develop. Overweight and obesity mean a significantly increased risk of type 2 diabetes. In fact, your weight is your strongest risk factor. The food you eat, how much food you are, how much energy you consume, your heredity and your genes are what controls both your weight and your risk of having type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is mostly a lifestyle disorder, which means that it is an unhealthy lifestyle that causes type 2 diabetes. It also means that one can alleviate, or even get rid of the disease, by changing one’s lifestyle. This we discussed in the article about type 2 diabetes. In this article, we carefully examine all the symptoms (symptoms) of type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes come slowly
Because it takes many years to develop type 2 diabetes, it means that the symptoms come slowly. This means that the vast majority of people have type 2 diabetes (or a “precursor” of the disease called “pre-diabetes”) for many years before the disease is diagnosed. You need to be attentive because the symptoms can be very discreet, which allows even people who have had diabetes for many years to feel relatively unaffected. Many people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at all and it is common for the diagnosis to be made after a routine visit to the health center.
Now we will go through one symptom at a time. Some people with diabetes have only one of these symptoms, while others have all the symptoms. If you suspect that you have type 2 diabetes, you should contact your healthcare centre, or your nearest pharmacy, and ask to examine your blood sugar.
Increased thirst and increased water throwing (unusually thirsty and urinating a lot)
People with diabetes have high blood sugar. Sugar in the blood is called glucose (which can also be called glucose). The fact that you urinate more often if you have diabetes is explained by the fact that the kidneys are affected by high blood sugar. All blood in the body passes the kidneys, whose task is to make the blood cleaner and this means that certain substances and fluid are cleared out and turn into urine. Normally, the kidneys should not get rid of sugar (glucose) but people with diabetes have so high blood sugar that the kidneys cannot save all the sugar, which therefore also goes out into the urine. The sugar (glucose) also draws with it large amounts of water, making it much more urine and making the urine sweeter. Therefore, people with diabetes urinate more often and their urine is sweet. Waking up during the night because you need to throw water is not unusual in type 2 diabetes.
The medical term for increased thirst and drinking is polydipsia. The medical term for peeing more often is polyuria. A healthy person (without diabetes) urinates between 4 and 7 times a day.
Weight loss: after gaining weight suddenly begin to lose weight
We have previously discussed the role of the hormone insulin in the body. When we eat food, blood sugar rises (food contains sugar) and, in addition, many hormones are released from the gastrointestinal tract. The sugar (glucose) and the hormones get into the blood and reach the pancreas (also called pancreas), which then responds by releasing insulin. So, when you eat food, you get higher blood sugar and then insulin is released from the pancreas. The task of insulin is to signal to the cells of the body that it’s time to take up the sugar and use it as fuel. When you get type 2 diabetes, this system is disrupted. This is due to the fact that the effect of insulin becomes worse and worse, which is due to the fact that the body simply reacts less and less to insulin. This is called insulin resistance, which means that the effect of insulin in the body is worse and worse. Insulin resistance leads to loss of weight because the body is unable to absorb sugar less, and therefore it is not possible to make fat using sugar. The reduced effect of insulin also causes fat to begin to break down; this is because insulin usually prevents fat breakdown. So, insulin resistance leads to the fact that suddenly begins to lose weight.
Increased hunger and appetite: one gets hungry when the effect of insulin worsens
People with diabetes are often hungry. There are two explanations for this:
- Insulin also has effects in the brain. Insulin makes you feel full. Since the effect of insulin is impaired in type 2 diabetes, insulin cannot “saturate” the brain and this leads to more hungry.
- Increased hunger in type 2 diabetes is likely also due to the fact that the cells in the body do not receive the energy they need, since insulin does not lower the desired effect. This leads to the fact that the cells “get hungry”, which affects the release of hormones that lead to increased hunger. Often you feel hungry even though you have just eaten food.
The medical term for increased hunger is polyphagia.
Fatigue: you get tired of high blood sugar and insulin resistance
As we mentioned above, people with type 2 diabetes have something called insulin resistance. This means that insulin has a degraded effect in the body. The insulin should normally ensure that the cells of the body are able to absorb and use sugar (glucose) as a fuel source. If the effect of insulin is worse, then glucose will not be absorbed as well, and then there is less fuel inside the cells. Therefore, you get tired and often easily irritated. Some people with type 2 diabetes therefore find it more difficult to carry out everyday activities, even simpler ones. Some may also feel depressed (mental fatigue).
Blurred vision: blurred when blood sugar is high
In the eye there is a lens whose task is to provide us with a sharp vision. The lens contains water that is important for the functioning of the lens. People with type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar, which increases the amount of water in the lens so that the lens becomes swollen. Then the lens works worse and it leads to a blurred appearance. It’s hard to see from a distance, as well as details become harder to see. Sometimes only one eye suffers from blurred vision, but most often both.
Poor wound healing: wounds heal slowly, or not at all
High blood sugar is bad for the blood vessels of the body, especially the smallest blood vessels. The high sugar makes the blood vessels, which are actually very complicated structures, unable to function normally. Blood vessels are important for us to heal wounds and high blood sugar leads to a decrease in wound healing. People with diabetes can therefore often notice that they have had wounds that do not heal, or have healed very slowly. Some people with type 2 diabetes may have had infections that have been difficult to heal.
Dark skin areas (acanthosis nigricans): dark skin in armpits, groin and folds
Insulin resistance also affects the skin manufacturing of the brown pigment. People with diabetes have insulin resistance and this leads to darker skin, especially the skin in the armpit, groin and other folds.
Itching: the skin itches more than normal
The body dries out of the high blood sugar, and it also makes the skin drier. Then you may experience that it itches more in the skin.
Fungi thrive in high concentrations of sugar, which makes people with type 2 diabetes more often our problem with fungi. Most often, fungal infections occur in damp areas of skin, such as between fingers and toes, under the breasts or around the genitals.
Symptoms of complications of type 2 diabetes
All the symptoms that we discussed so far have been caused by high blood sugar or insulin resistance. The risk of type 2 diabetes is that long periods of high blood sugar and insulin resistance lead to permanent damage to our organs. Such injuries, which are a consequence of type 2 diabetes, are called complications (diabetic complications). Diabetic complications are something to be taken seriously because they testify that the disease is serious. In fact, some people have signs of complications already at the time of diagnosis, and therefore we would like to draw your attention to what symptoms speak for complications. Here is a statement.
Pain or loss of sensation in the feet or legs
As we mentioned above, high blood sugar leads to damage to the very smallest blood vessels. These blood vessels are in our nerves and when they are damaged our nerves are destroyed (the nerves need blood vessels to function normally). This is something that you experience in the legs and feet. Nerve damage caused by diabetes is called neuropathy (nerve damage). This is perceived as a loss of sensitivity in the feet (on both feet) or in the legs (both legs). It can feel like walking on pillows because the feeling in the feet deteriorates. Some people also have pain in their legs/feet without being able to find an explanation for the pain.
Neuropathy is a problem because it can lead to hard-to-heal wounds. It is not unusual for people with type 2 diabetes to have one, or a pair of grains, in their shoes that they cannot feel due to loss of sensitivity and after a long walk there may be a wound under the foot. These wounds are difficult to heal because the functioning of blood vessels is poor.
Retinopathy, nephropathy, heart attack, stroke, heart failure
Other complications of type 2 diabetes include acute heart attack, heart failure, stroke (stroke), kidney damage (neuropathy), and visual impairment due to retinal damage (retinopathy, visual impairment). Retinopathy and nephropathy are typical for diabetes, which means that people with diabetes have a high risk of developing these complications. However, heart attack, stroke and heart failure are something that can affect people without diabetes. Some people find that they have type 2 diabetes in connection with diagnosing one of these conditions, but it is less of course.
What is pre-diabetes?
Diabetes is always preceded by pre-diabetes, which is simply a precursor to diabetes. In pre-diabetes, blood sugar is higher than normal but lower than is required to diagnose diabetes. Pre-diabetes is diagnosed by making a glucose load (you can drink a large amount of sugar solution), or by measuring blood sugar on an empty stomach, or by measuring HbA1c.