Type 2 diabetes symptoms: Three signs which identified woman’s high blood sugar levels

Type 2 diabetes causes a person’s blood sugar levels to become too high. If the condition is left untreated, eye problems, foot problems, kidney problems, as well as heart and stroke can occur. So what are the signs? Emma Drew, 30, from Cambridgeshire knew something wasn’t right when she began to experience three symptoms.

She explained: “I discovered that I had type 2 diabetes during a particularly busy time in my life. It was March 2016 and I was recently married and had left my full time job to embark on setting up my own business. I noticed that I wasn’t feeling myself.”

The three symptoms Emma noticed were:

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Feeling thirsty all the time

She said: “I was really tired all the time to the point where I was having afternoon naps, I was losing up to two pounds a day and was insanely thirsty.”

After her doctor carried out a fasting blood sugar test Emma was diagnosed with the condition.

Her blood sugar reading results came back as 18.8 which she said is “dangerously high”.

“The whole experience of being diagnosed was quite a shock,” said Emma.

“I did well at making changes at first – within six weeks of taking the prescribed medication I had my blood sugar levels under control and my readings were between 5 and 6.

“I made simple swaps like switching to wholemeal breads and made small changes like having a dinner based on broccoli and sauce, rather than pasta and sauce. I also started going for a 10 minute walk after eating to help my body break down the sugar from my evening meal.

“My husband also learnt a lot during that phase. We are both self-employed, eat out a lot and he does most of the cooking so he had to learn what I can and can’t eat. He is also great at reminding me to take my medication.”

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Emma here on out.

After her initial positive change and feeling pleased about getting her condition under control, she went into a denial phase where she felt like she didn’t have the condition anymore.

She said: “I hit a wall in the process and started only checking my blood sugar levels twice a week and found it difficult to take my medication.

“I decided I needed more support so I went to my local LloydsPharmacy and spoke to the pharmacist about the different elements of my condition from medication through to lifestyle.

“It was so helpful. I learnt some really simple changes about my medication. For example, I was taking Gliclazide three hours after my evening meal and waking up at 3am every night as a result.

“I would wake up feeling confused, like I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t realise that the medication could have this impact on my sleeping pattern.

“But the pharmacist explained to me that I was having a hypo which means that my blood sugar was dropping too low and my body was waking me up. The pharmacist recommended that I should have Gliclazide with my evening meal and as a result I have stopped waking up at 3am every night which has made a big impact to my life.”

Emma has also learnt a lot of different things about her diet. For example, she knows she needs to eat between 12noon and 2pm, because if she skips lunch or has a late lunch she gets “hungry”.

She added: “I have also made positive changes around my snacking habits. When I get hungry at 10am I feel like I could eat a whole roast dinner, but really I just need one rich tea biscuit or a carrot and then the hunger subsides and I feel ok again.

“The pharmacist recommended I make minor changes to my diet as this way the change is easier to incorporate and sustain. For example, sharing a dessert rather than having one to myself helps to ensure I don’t feel like I’m missing out but equally it won’t impact my blood sugars as much. These small changes are having a big impact on my health and I have lost six pounds in one month as a result.

“Swimming is helping me to stay active and I’m going to start walking for 10 minutes after every meal rather than just after my evening meal.”

LloydsPharmacy pharmacist Pareena Patel said Emma was displaying all the classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes and urges anyone who is experiencing one or more of these symptoms to go to their local pharmacy and have free screening.

She advised: “Whilst anyone is at risk, if you have a family history of diabetes then your risk is elevated. More specifically symptoms of type 2 diabetes includes urinating more than usual and in particular during the night, increased thirst, feeling very tired and unexplained weight loss[viii]. Less well known symptoms include cuts and wounds which are slow and itching around the penis or vagina.

“If you are living with type 2 diabetes I would recommend you look for support from your local pharmacist. They can offer practical diet and lifestyle advice and will have time to help discuss your medications with you to ensure you are taking them effectively and that they are working for you. It is important to remain motivated and to check your blood sugar levels regularly as this will help you to learn more about your condition and take control where necessary.”

While exercising is a good way to control and lower blood sugar levels, some types of exercise are more effective and lowering blood sugar than others


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