Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whereby your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels can damage the vessels that supply blood to vital organs, a mechanism that can increase the risk of chronic complications such as heart disease, so it is important to spot the warning signs associated with type 2 diabetes as soon as they appear.
This is easier said than done, however, as many people may not show symptoms for years and when they do appear, they can be subtle or confused with less serious conditions.
Spotting type 2 diabetes is even more challenging in light of the current climate.
COVID-19, the deadly disease currently sweeping across the UK, has put everyone on high-alert.
With all eyes focused on potential COVID-19 symptoms, people may confuse one of the main warning signs of type 2 diabetes with a COVID-19-reported symptom.
- High blood sugar levels, either from a lack of the insulin hormone or from insulin resistance, can affect the body’s ability to get glucose from the blood into cells to meet our energy needs
- People on stronger diabetes medication such as insulin may also experience fatigue as a symptom of low blood glucose levels
Blood glucose testing can help to determine whether high or low sugar levels may be the cause of fatigue, it notes.
Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes:
According to the NHS, symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Urinating more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
You should see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting it, advises the health site.
As the health site points out, the earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better.
Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems,” it adds.
What happens next
Once you receive a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, you must make necessary lifestyle changes to bring your blood sugar levels under control.
Diet plays a crucial role in blood sugar management.
As a general rule, you should drastically cut back on high carb items if you are looking to control your blood sugar levels.
This is because carbohydrate is broken down into glucose relatively quickly and therefore has a more pronounced effect on blood sugar levels than either fat or protein.
Following the Glycemic Index (GI) is a handy way to help you distinguish between high carb and low carb foods.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrates in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels.
A food’s GI index is usually indicated on the front of food packets.