Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure in the United States, and it is a leading cause of heart disease, poor wound healing, and a myriad of other complications. 90% of people with diabetes mellitus have type 2 diabetes. But many people who have diabetes don't even know it. Today I'm going to give you seven huge warning signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Please keep reading, because number seven is going to shock you!
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
Diabetes in general occurs when you have elevated levels of glucose in the blood. Now, every single cell in your body needs glucose or sugar in order to function and to have energy. And in order for that glucose to get into the cells, you have to have insulin. Insulin acts like a key to unlock the door to the cells, in order to let glucose in.
In type 2 diabetes, even if you have enough insulin, if you have enough keys, that insulin does not seem to work. In other words, your body's cells are resistant to insulin. So even if you have high levels of insulin in the body, the cells just don't respond. So what happens? That blood sugar or glucose cannot get inside of the cells, and you get high blood sugar or hyperglycemia.
In type 2 diabetes, you can also have a situation where that high blood sugar eventually impairs the pancreas and prevents the cells in the pancreas from making insulin. And so in addition to initially having a lot of insulin that just doesn't work and so you can't get the blood sugar into the cells, ultimately you have a decreased production of insulin, even in diabetes mellitus type 2.
Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes
There are many risk factors for diabetes mellitus type 2, including:
- Genetics/Family History
- Lack of exercise
- Poor diet
There are also some medications that can put you at risk, such as steroids or certain antiviral medications.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
1. Increased Thirst and Urination
When you have diabetes mellitus type 2 and you have this high blood sugar, that sugar has to get out of the body somehow. And so what happens? That glucose is filtered out through the kidneys. Now glucose is a pretty large molecule. So when you urinate it out after it's filtered through the kidneys with that glucose, it takes water and some other electrolytes as well.
So what happens? You end up having increased urination. And so you're getting rid of the glucose through your urine, as well as your water. You have an increased volume of urine, increased frequency of urine, and you may have to get up many times at night having nocturia, to urinate.
This increased urination can be a warning symptom of diabetes. What happens after you have all of this increased urination? You get dehydrated and because you are dehydrated, you have increased thirst. And so a warning symptom of diabetes mellitus type 2 is, increased urination followed by increased thirst (polyuria and polydipsia).
2. Fatigue or Generalized Weakness
Even though you have very high blood sugar levels, in diabetes mellitus type 2, that blood sugar is not getting into the cells. Therefore you're not getting the energy you need. What happens? You end up being very fatigued or excessively tired, or you can have generalized weakness.
3. Blurry Vision
All of the shifts of fluid and electrolytes that can occur within the eyes can cause the vision to be blurred. Those high blood sugar levels can be toxic to the tiny blood vessels in the eye, and you can get something called diabetic retinopathy.
4. Unintentional Weight Loss
Now, I mentioned that even though with type 2 diabetes, you have elevated sugar in the blood or high glucose blood levels, that sugar is not being utilized properly in your cells. And so it's not going in your muscle cells or into your fat cells. It's not being processed properly, and so you're not getting the proper energy you need.
Patients with type 2 diabetes may have voracious appetites. They may be eating, eating, and eating, but still losing weight. In addition, you can get nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain as warning symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
5. Poor Wound Healing
If you have poor wound healing, this can certainly be a symptom of type 2 diabetes, because patients with type 2 diabetes may have cuts that don't heal well. They can get ulcers in the bottoms of their feet, that don't heal well. If you get ill, then you can have a prolonged infection. Why? Because the hyperglycemia, the high blood sugar in type 2 diabetes will cause your immunity as well as your wound healing to be delayed.
6. Numbness and Tingling of the Fingers and Toes
Numbness and tingling of the fingers and toes can certainly be a symptom of type 2 diabetes, and it's called diabetic neuropathy. These elevated blood sugars can actually be toxic to your nerves and to certain cells in your nervous system. If you are noticing that you're getting a pin-prick feeling or numbness or tingling in your feet or in your fingers, please make sure you consult with your physician because indeed this could be another warning symptom of diabetes mellitus type 2.
7. Itching Around The Penis and Vagina
Yes, I'm dead serious. That can sound a little shocking, but it can happen. When you have type 2 diabetes, you tend to get more infections. Specifically, you can get more yeast infections. And if you get this yeast, like this Candida infection, it can present as a yeast infection in the vagina or in the penis, and it can cause itching around the penis and the vagina.
So if you are someone who is having itching in your genitalia, if you are a lady and you're noticing that you're having a cottage cheese-like discharge or yeast infections in addition to this itching, then you definitely want to consult with your physician because this, believe it or not, this can be a warning symptom of type 2 diabetes.
These are just seven of the many huge warning signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment of type 2 diabetes is key to preventing more serious health complications in the future. Have you experienced any of these warning signs or symptoms?