One of the most important facts to know about Type 2 diabetes — a disease of high blood sugar — is this: You could have it and not know it.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes often develop slowly and can be subtle. And many people with the disease have no symptoms. That’s why it’s important to know your risk factors for the disease. It’s also why your doctor may test you for it if you’re at risk, even if you don’t have symptoms.
The earlier Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of avoiding serious health problems. When left untreated, diabetes can lead to potential complications that include heart disease, stroke, kidney damage and nerve damage. What is it and who is at risk?
2. Numbness and tingling in hands and feet Common symptoms of diabetic neuropathy are pain and numbness in the feet and hands (peripheral neuropathy). High blood sugar and fat levels damage the nerves and the blood vessels that bring nutrients to them. Your feet, hands, legs and arms may also feel weak or like they are burning. Up to 50% of people with diabetes have peripheral neuropathy. ALSO READ: 40 Places Young People Are Moving (Photo: kumikomini / Getty Images) Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It usually starts when the body has trouble using insulin, a hormone that helps glucose (also called blood sugar) enter the body’s cells. When glucose can’t move into cells, it builds up in the bloodstream instead.
Over time, a high glucose level in the blood can damage the body, increasing the chances for complications such as eye, heart, kidney disease, nerve damage and non-traumatic amputations.
Some people are more at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes than others. Higher- risk people include those who: Are 45 years or older.
Are overweight or obese.
Have a family history of diabetes.
Are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
Have a history of gestational diabetes or of giving birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more.
What are the symptoms?
1. Frequent urination and increased thirst Excessive thirst is a classic symptom of diabetes. The reason is the extra sugar in your blood. The kidneys have to work extra hard to filter the glucose. Whatever they can’t handle gets eliminated into your urine, taking with it fluids from other muscle tissues, leaving you dehydrated, constantly thirsty, and frequently running to the bathroom as a result. (Photo: laflor / Getty Images) Some signs and symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include: Urinating a lot.
Feeling very thirsty, tired or hungry (even though you’re eating).
Having blurred vision.
Having slow-healing cuts or bruises.
Having numbness, pain, or tingling in your feet or hands.
If you have symptoms like these, tell your doctor. He or she will most likely check your blood to see if you have diabetes.
Take it seriously
If you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, you will need to follow the advice of your doctor to keep the disease under control, which can help lower your risk of complications. You can do that by eating well, exercising regularly and taking medications, if needed. For more than 25 years, Shannon Medical Center ’s diabetes education program has assisted people in the Concho Valley with diabetes education and management. To find out more, talk to your doctor or contact Shannon’s Diabetes Management Program at 325-481-2388. You can also take a diabetes risk test at https://bit.ly/2RZl49a .
Shannon is part of the San Angelo Diabetes Coalition, which got its start earlier this year. The coalition offers free diabetes self-management education classes as well as monthly outreach events.
The coalition includes the San Angelo Health Foundation, San Angelo Community Medical Center, La Esperanza Clinic and Angelo State University. For more information, visit facebook.com/SADiabetesCoalition .
Dawn Stevenson, RNC, CDE, is a diabetes educator at Shannon Medical Center.
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