When your blood glucose is too high, there's a chance you might have type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 is the most common of this illness, and there are some ways you can work to prevent it, and there are ways to control it once you get a diagnosis.

First, it's important that you know and understand the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?


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Type 2 diabetes happens when your body isn't able to make enough insulin (which occurs in the pancreas) or use what it does produce.

When your body doesn't make insulin to help transfer glucose into your cells for energy, you have a buildup of blood sugar, or blood glucose, left in your bloodstream.

Who's Most Likely to Develop Type 2 Diabetes

Anyone can develop this form of diabetes. While it can happen at any age, even in children, it is most often developed later in life. People of middle-age and the elderly, usually at age 45 or older, are more likely to develop it.

Age isn't the only factor increasing your risk of diabetes.

  • If there is someone in your family has had diabetes type 2, your risk is increased.
  • Obesity, being overweight, and yo-yo dieting (especially if you gain and lose in the mid-section) also increase your risk.
  • It is also more common for African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanic/Latinos, and Pacific Islanders.
  • A sedentary lifestyle, one where you spend most of your time sitting and don't participate in regular physical activity, can also increase your risk.
  • You are more likely to develop this type of diabetes if you have prediabetes or if you had gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
  • You may even suffer from insulin resistance.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

While you will need to get diagnosed by a doctor, you may want to talk to them about your risks for diabetes. This is especially important if you've been experiencing any of the symptoms you'll read about below.

1. Dry Mouth and Increased Thirst

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As you'll learn in some of the other symptoms, high blood sugar causes a domino effect within your body. This means that many of the symptoms will build off of one another.

One of the symptoms that is a direct cause of others is an increased thirst and dry mouth. These happen because you become dehydrated if you're urinating more often and not replacing those fluids.

Dry mouth can be a symptom of something other than diabetes, but if it's combined with any of the other symptoms listed, you should get tested for diabetes.

2. Frequent Urination

The reason why you are urinating more is that your kidneys are trying to flush out the excess glucose which is building up in your blood. This causes an increase in urine production, followed by a need to pee more.

The increase in urination can also lead to an increase in urinary tract infections (UTI), especially for women. UTIs and frequent urination can also be signs of other health issues, but it's worth having your doctor run some blood tests.

3. Sudden Weight Loss

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The lack of glucose making it to your cells is one of the things that can cause unexpected weight loss in those with diabetes. On top of that, your frequent urination could also play a role in weight loss. You're continually shedding water weight.

Weight loss will level off when you start working on controlling your diabetes. You'll also want to follow dietary suggestions from your doctor.

4. Uncontrollable Hunger

Your high insulin levels could be tricking your brain into thinking that you are hungry. Your pancreas is put into high gear trying to make up for the lack of insulin in your cells, and that overtime is what increases your hunger.

It's not about eating the right foods at this point. Even eating more won't stop you from feeling hungry. It's a matter of controlling your diabetes.

5. Blurred Vision

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The levels – whether they're normal, high or low – of blood sugar in your body affect your entire system. Even your eyes can be affected.

The flexible membrane that makes up the lens of your eye can be altered by high blood sugar. It won't be able to bend properly. The lens doesn't get damaged, but the muscles in your eyes are forced to work overtime to help you see properly.

Rapid changes in your blood sugar can cause blurry vision until the muscles of your eyes adapt to the change. Once you level your glucose back off, you will see fine again. However, untreated diabetes can lead to blindness.

6. Numbness and Foot Pain

If you are going undiagnosed with diabetes or not properly managing your illness, you could be causing permanent damage to your body. This damage could actually lead to the loss of your lower limbs. If you don't want to lose a foot or your leg, it's vital that you see your doctor and get tested for diabetes.

Before your diabetic neuropathy gets that bad, you will notice some pain in your feet. Prolonged high blood sugar causes damage to your body's nerves. Diabetic neuropathy may show no symptoms at all in some people. Others may experience that aforementioned pain, as well as tingling and numbness. 

7. Frequent Vaginal Health Issues for Women

For women, UTIs aren't the only “personal” issue that can happen often because of the effects of elevated blood sugar. Other problems you might suffer from more often than normal include yeast infections and bacterial infections, as well as vaginal thrush.

Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself

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Before you even notice your first symptom of diabetes, there are things you can start doing right away. If you're in a high-risk category, maybe because of genes or because of your current weight, you can work to stay healthy.

If you already have your diagnosis, you can still benefit from the following tips to helping you keep your diabetes under control.

  • Get on Medication – Your doctor can prescribe you a medication that helps lower your blood sugar. There are also glucose pills that you can buy over-the-counter, but those may not be as effective,
  • Manage Your Changes – Monitoring your blood sugar levels is the key to staying healthy and protecting yourself from side effects. Check your levels, and keep track of them, per your doctor's recommendations.
  • Eat Healthily – Your diet can make a huge difference in how you deal with diabetes and avoiding it in the first place. If you want to work on cutting back on your risk of diabetes, eat healthy whole foods and cut back on sugary and salty foods. If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor about proper diet requirements for your health.
  • Stay Hydrated – Since dehydration is an actual concern for people with diabetes, keep a glass of water around you at all times. Set yourself a water consumption goal to meet each day. Water's good for you even if you haven't been diagnosed.
  • Get up and Move – Exercise is essential for overall health, and it is also important for helping to keep your system in shape. You'll also increase your chances of losing weight. By moving from the classification of obese or overweight, you can decrease your chances of getting diabetes.
  • Get on a Schedule – Schedules are important for reducing stress, making sure you get enough sleep, and for ensuring that you're monitoring your health (with or without diabetes). Take any medications you have at the same time each day, exercise every day, try to go to bed and wake up at scheduled times each day, and practice stress relief. You can practice meditation, too.

Monitoring Your Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

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If you notice that you're having one or more of these symptoms, consider visiting your doctor. It is very important that you talk to your doctor if you do have more than one symptom. Don't ignore the issue until it's too late.

Like with any illness, early detection is important. You can find balance with your blood sugar levels and live a perfectly normal life.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes Don't Have to Control You

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Take control of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes that you're experiencing. Make an appointment with your doctor, and then start an exercise routine and a diet that ensure that you are working to be the healthiest person you can possibly be.

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