Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes; about 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. So what’s happening in the body when type 2 diabetes is lurking? Your entire body runs on glucose to fuel everything from brain function to fingernail growth. The cells receive that glucose via the vehicle insulin. Thus without insulin (a hormone usually made by the pancreas), the entire body begins to lose energy it needs to function properly. People with type 2 diabetes still make insulin, but their cells struggle to utilize that insulin. As a result of this insulin resistance, the pancreas responds by producing greater and greater amounts of insulin, to try and achieve some degree of management of the blood glucose levels. As insulin overproduction occurs over a very long period of time, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas wear themselves out, so that by the time someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they have lost 50 – 70% of their insulin-producing cells.
For the most part, type 2 diabetes is silent and insidious. The changes might not be immediately noticeable. Although people with type 2 diabetes may not have specific symptoms, a possible early sign of type 2 diabetes is darkened skin on certain areas of the body, including:
Some classic early symptoms of diabetes include:
– Frequent urination: When your blood glucose levels are high, a lot of the glucose passes into the urine. Because you lose so much glucose in your urine, it also attracts water, meaning that you are making a lot of urine, causing you to need to pee a lot. If you are going to the toilet frequently and losing a lot of urine, then you are quickly becoming dehydrated. If you are dehydrated, you become thirsty. People who feel they need to constantly drink lots of water may have diabetes and it needs to be tested for.
– Extreme hunger: Even after you eat, you may still feel very hungry. That’s because your muscles aren’t getting the energy they need from the food; your body’s insulin resistance keeps glucose from entering the muscle and providing energy. Therefore, the muscles and other tissues send a “hunger” message, trying to get more energy into the body.
– Fatigue: When cells are left without enough glucose, the body becomes tired. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating diabetes symptoms because it interferes with daily life.
– Weight loss: If you have type 2 diabetes, there may come a time where you losing weight and experience weight loss despite eating normally. This occurs when the glucose levels are very high and the pancreas is failing. This is a sign of severe diabetes. This results in not enough glucose being absorbed in the cells to be used for energy, so your body starts to breakdown fat and muscle instead, leading to weight loss.
– Foot Pain and Numbness: High blood sugar over a prolonged period of time can cause diabetic neuropathy, which can damage nerves throughout the body. Numbness, tingling or pain in the extremities will often follow.
– Infections and sores: Type 2 diabetes slows recovery time from infections and sores. People with this type of diabetes take longer to heal because blood circulation is poor and they may have other nutritional deficits.
– Blurry vision: In an attempt to get more fluid into the blood to counteract the high blood glucose level, your body may pull fluid from the eyes. You may have trouble focusing then, leading to blurry vision.
These are some of the more common symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes, but you may not experience all of them. If you’re concerned about your health and think you may have diabetes, make an appointment with your doctor to be tested. Regency Hospital is equipped with state of the art care for patients with Type 2 Diabetes and is backed by an expert team of doctors.