Type 2 diabetes symptoms can hide for months, so get your blood sugar checked once a year. Here are the symptoms you should discuss with your doctor if you have them.
Keira Fleming found out that she had type 2 diabetes at her annual checkup. She had two of the symptoms, but completely dismissed them.
“I was urinating a lot, and my vision started getting blurry,” she said. “I chalked that up to getting older.” The 67-year-old didn’t feel ill and was quite surprised by the diagnosis.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 29.1 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, but only 21 million of them are officially diagnosed. That leaves 8.1 million people who have the disease but don’t know it. With so many undiagnosed people, knowing what to look for can lead to a diagnosis. Once you have a diagnosis, you can take better care of yourself.
Mallory Judge also suffered from frequent urination. She thought she had a bladder infection. “That’s what brought me to the doctor,” she said. “When I was in my doctor’s office, she ran a blood test that came back positive for type 2 diabetes.”
Type 2 diabetes symptoms — in addition to urinating often and having blurry vision—include:
- Being thirsty a good part of the day
- Having unexpected weight gain or weight loss
- Excessive hunger
- Feeling exhausted
- Getting frequent infections of the skin, gums, or bladder
- Having wounds that don’t heal
Type 2 diabetes symptoms for women also include having frequent vaginal yeast infections. Type 2 diabetes symptoms for men include infections on the foreskin of the penis.
Peripheral neuropathy, another complication of type 2 diabetes, affects your feet and legs first. It can move to your hands and arms. The symptoms for type 2 diabetes with peripheral neuropathy include:
- A tingling or numbness in your feet, legs, hands, or arms
- Sharp pains in your feet, legs, hands, or arms
- Weak muscles
- An increased sensitivity to being touched
- Having a loss of balance
- Suffering from intense foot or joint pain
- A burning sensation in your legs, feet, hands, and arms
- Leg pain at night
- Suffering from muscle cramps
If you notice any of the above signs, talk to your doctor. Diabetes affects the way your body processes glucose (a form of sugar in your body). There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is also called adult-onset diabetes and non insulin-dependent diabetes. It occurs when your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or is unable to use insulin properly.
Type 2 diabetes usually affects people who are 40 or older, overweight, or have close family members with the disease. Developing type 2 diabetes at a younger age is becoming more common.
If you have a parent with type 2 diabetes, you should get your blood sugar checked once a year. Diabetes can be hereditary. If you have any of the symptoms in this article, you should talk to your doctor about having your blood tested for diabetes.
The most common blood tests for diabetes are:
- The A1C test, which shows your average blood glucose level for the past 2 to 3 months.
- Fasting blood glucose, after having nothing to eat or drink for 8 hours, overnight: 100 to 125 mg/dl indicates prediabetes; above 125 mg/dl indicates diabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test: a two-hour test requiring fasting overnight and consuming a sugary drink from your lab, measuring periodic blood sugar levesl over a couple of hours. A level of greater than 300 mg/dl points to diabetes.
If you test positive for type 2 diabetes your doctor will make sure you control the level of sugar in your blood. That’s done by teaching you how to measure your blood sugar regularly, planning healthy meals, exercising daily, and taking medication (if necessary).
Type 2 diabetes is preventable — even if there’s a history of diabetes in your family. To avoid the disease:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Exercise daily (30 minutes or more each day).
- Eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and high-fiber grains.
- Limit the amount of sugar in your diet and avoid processed foods.
Understanding the symptoms of type 2 diabetes will help you manage the disease and feel better.
May 01, 2017
Janet O’Dell, RN