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The heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys are all at risk of harm if you have type 2 diabetes. Learn the symptoms of the condition, so you can alert your doctor as soon as possible.
Diabetes UK – the leading charity for people living with the condition – shares the three main signs of type 2 diabetes:
- Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night;
- Being really thirsty;
- Feeling more tired than usual.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when either the pancreas can’t make enough of the hormone insulin, or the insulin it does create doesn’t work.
Medical News Today describes the pancreas as a “gland organ, located in the abdomen”.
Aside from playing a part in the digestive system – whereby it secretes enzymes to break down further in the small intestine – it produces insulin.
Insulin is released into the bloodstream, which is used to regulate the body’s glucose (i.e. sugar) levels.
When blood sugar levels rise, “insulin moves glucose from the blood into muscles and other tissues, for use as energy,” it explained.
It also “helps the liver absorb glucose, storing it as glycogen in case the body needs energy during stress or exercise”.
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body’s muscle, fat and liver cells “become unable to process glucose”.
In response, the pancreas produces extra insulin; yet the body’s cells still don’t respond.
As blood sugar levels increase, the pancreas tires of making excess insulin and can no longer control blood glucose levels.
Other signs of the condition include: losing weight without trying; blurred vision; genital itching or thrush; cuts and wounds that take longer to heal.
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There are certain factors that increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Being overweight is one of them, with excess weight carried around the middle of your belly making you more susceptible to the condition.
In order to counteract this risk factor, it’s imperative to maintain a healthy weight.
Another risk factor is having high blood pressure, which can be managed with exercise and a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, there are certain risk profiles you simply can’t change, but they do increase your likelihood of developing the condition.
These increase with age – specifically over 40 if you’re white, and over 25 if you’re “African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian”.
You’re also two to six times more likely to develop the condition if you have a “parent, brother, sister or child with diabetes”.
If you suspect you have type 2 diabetes, your doctor will be able to confirm whether or not you have the condition.
The dangers of untreated diabetes are numerous, from increasing your chances of a heart attack to a stroke, and kidney damage.
Moreover, foot amputations are a significant risk if you don’t manage the condition.
This is because nerve damage prevents you from realising when there’s an issue with your feet.
“Someone with diabetes is 20 times more likely to experience an amputation,” clarified Diabetes UK.
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