In the United States, there are more than 8 million people have undiagnosed diabetes according to the American Diabetes Association. Unfortunately, many of these people will develop serious complications due to the undetected disease which can be fatal if not treated properly.
Type 2 diabetes is a "chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose)," according to the Mayo Clinic. A type 2 diabetic's body is either resistant to insulin or doesn't produce enough to maintain normal levels of glucose. It is most common in adults and there is no cure for it, therefore management through proper diet and exercise is key.
As with most illnesses, early symptoms can be hard to detect unless you're paying close attention to how your body functions. In the case of Type 2 diabetes, the symptoms might not manifest at all, so it is important to be in tune with your body and track subtle changes because it could mean something more serious.
Individuals who are overweight or with family history of diabetes have a higher chance of getting diabetes in their lifetime, but even if you don't fit into those categories you should keep your eyes peeled for the following 7 signs:
1. Excessive Thirst and Hunger
You might just think that the warmer weather is making you drink more water, but it could be your body's way of sending out a warning. Also known as polydipsia, excessive thirst is an easy to miss symptom of type 2 diabetes. When your kidneys can no longer keep up with the filtering and absorption of the extra glucose in your body, the sugar along with other fluids turn into urine which leaves you feeling dehydrated.
2. Frequent Bathroom Breaks
If you find yourself urinating frequently throughout the day then it may be a good idea to get tested. "If your body doesn't make enough insulin [a hormone that carries glucose into your cells to give them energy glucose builds up in your bloodstream and comes out in your urine," explains Janet Silverstein, MD, chief of pediatric endocrinology at the University of Florida.
3. Skin Problems
The American Academy of Dermatology highlights a few warning signs that may appear on your skin if you have diabetes. Some of them include extremely dry and itchy skin, scaly patches around the eyelids, yellow, reddish or brown patches on different areas of the body and a dark ring of "velvety" skin on the back of the neck due to excess insulin.
Continue onto the next page for more hidden symptoms of type two diabetes.
4. Weight Loss
Although losing weight is more common in individuals with type 1 diabetes, it can be a symptom of type 2 diabetes as well. When the body struggles to make insulin, the cells can't use the glucose from food for energy which prompts the breakdown of fat and in turn triggers weight loss.
5. Blurred Vision
In many cases, diabetes has an effect on the eyes and their ability to focus. Vision problems are caused by the the build up of glucose in the lens of the eyes due to high blood sugar. When left untreated, diabetes can cause new blood vessels to form in the retina and wreak havoc on the older vessels.
6. Infections and Slow Healing Wounds
Infections are common in individuals with diabetes because there's a chance that high levels of blood sugar is impacting the body's natural ability to fend off infections. For women, glucose buildup can lead to frequent yeast infections characterised by itchiness and abnormal discharges.
People with diabetes also experience slow healing wounds and bone-related injuries.
7. Numb and Tingling Hands & Feet
Diabetes can cause nerve damage when undetected or left untreated for long periods of time. As a result of the damage, you might start to experience tingling and loss of feeling in your hands and feet. In some cases, people have reported a "burning" pain in their arms, hands, legs and feet.
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[H/T: Mayo Clinic]