Type 2 Diabetes: What Are The Early Signs?

Speaking to a medical professional about your diabetes symptoms can help you get a diagnosis. Once you have a diagnosis, you can take steps to manage and treat your condition — but you need to know when it’s time to seek professional medical help.

Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes early can put you on track to getting your health back under control. When you know what to look out for, you may be more likely to seek medical help and get treatment sooner. Untreated, type 2 diabetes can damage your body and cause serious complications.

Have you considered clinical trials for Type 2 diabetes?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Type 2 diabetes, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes affects the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This leads to hyperglycemia (high blood sugars) which can harm the body and cause serious complications.

Diabetes can be categorized as type 1, type 2, or gestational. The type of diabetes you are diagnosed with will influence your treatment plan and outlook. 

Type 2 diabetes affects most people globally. There are 460 million people with type 2 diabetes worldwide. Although the disease is most common in adults, you can develop signs and symptoms at any age.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes symptoms usually appear over time. The condition doesn’t suddenly occur. Instead, it progresses and worsens gradually. Dietary habits and lifestyle choices usually hasten the condition’s progression.

You will not be alerted to type 2 diabetes by developing a specific symptom. Rather, you may begin to notice certain changes or challenges to your health that lead you to speak to your doctor.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes for many reasons; however, some factors can significantly increase your chance of developing the disease. While children and teens can develop the disease, adults are the most commonly affected age group.

Other risk factors that can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • Family history of type 2 diabetes (such as having a parent or sibling with the condition)

  • Being of African-American, Asian, or Hispanic descent

  • History of gestational diabetes

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Living a mostly sedentary lifestyle

  • Smoking (either currently or in the past)

  • Other health conditions, such as high blood pressure, a heart condition, or high triglycerides

  • Being an organ transplant recipient

Complications of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can cause long-term complications for your health and body.

When your body cannot expel blood sugar effectively, it is exposed to constant high blood sugar levels. This can disrupt your organ function and health. Your heart, brain, eyes, kidneys, skin, blood vessels, and nervous system may incur damage.

Common complications of type 2 diabetes include:

Type 2 diabetes warning signs

Getting a diagnosis and undergoing treatment as early as possible is the best way to avoid type 2 diabetes complications. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the sooner you can manage the disease and adapt your lifestyle to improve your health.

Familiarizing yourself with the potential warning signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes can encourage you to speak to a healthcare professional quickly.

Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience one or a combination of the following symptoms. You can discuss your concerns and undergo an evaluation if needed to determine if you have type 2 diabetes.

Waking up hungry in the middle of the night

Waking up hungry in the middle of the night when you’re not dieting and eating normally could indicate your body is insufficiently fueled.

Frequent urination

Prolonged periods of hyperglycemia put extra strain on your body. This can cause frequent urination as your kidneys work to rid themselves of the excess sugar.

Increased thirst

The more frequently you urinate, the more your body will lose fluids. This may cause you to feel continuously thirsty.  

Slow healing of wounds

Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can damage your body’s ability to heal and ward off infection. You may need to see your doctor about wounds that take noticeably longer to heal. 

Blurred vision

Your eyes are particularly vulnerable to high blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes may cause blurred vision that comes and goes. 

Fatigue

Unmanaged type 2 diabetes can cause exhaustion and fatigue. This is because your body has trouble converting glucose into energy effectively.

Other warning signs

Other type 2 diabetes warning signs to watch out for include:

Why early diagnosis is important

The longer your body continues to function with unregulated blood sugar levels, the higher the risk of damage to your overall health.

Managing your condition will not only help you feel better in the short term by addressing your most urgent symptoms, but it will also help prolong your life by leading a healthier lifestyle.

Your doctor may prescribe medications to help regulate your blood sugar levels, like insulin, and recommend lifestyle changes to ease your symptoms and slow the condition’s progression.

Managing the early signs of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes symptoms can affect your quality of life, including your sleep, overall wellness, and ability to meet your day-to-day responsibilities.

Getting an accurate diagnosis is the first step in managing the signs and symptoms of your condition. Make an appointment with your doctor for blood tests and a medical evaluation as soon as possible. 

Prevention

Unlike type 1 diabetes, which is a genetic condition, type 2 diabetes is a gradual illness that worsens over a long period of time. It often takes months and years for type 2 diabetes to reach the point where your body exhibits more obvious symptoms and signs.

The best approach to preventing type 2 diabetes is being aware and in control of your health. This can mean managing your weight to remain within a healthy range, keeping active, and staying up to date on your yearly blood tests and physical exams.

Treatment

Type 2 diabetes affects people in different ways. The treatment and management of type 2 diabetes is tailored to each patient and their specific needs and health problems.

Depending on the progression of your condition, your doctor may prescribe medication (such as insulin or oral medications), incorporate blood sugar testing into your daily routine, and give you guidelines to help you live a healthier lifestyle. Taking steps to improve your lifestyle can help reduce your blood sugars and increase your body’s ability to control and regulate them.

It may take some trial and error to find the best treatment plan for you. Working closely with your doctor and telling them about your concerns and any changes in your symptoms will help you find the right solutions and approach to your treatment.

The lowdown

Type 2 diabetes can begin slowly and exhibit early symptoms, such as increased thirst and frequent urination. Untreated, the condition can cause serious complications.

If you start to experience one or multiple signs of type 2 diabetes, speak to a medical professional as soon as possible. Taking quick action when you recognize symptoms can help you get advice and a diagnosis from your doctor. This puts you on the path to an effective treatment plan.

Type 2 diabetes is a manageable condition and you can reverse its effects on your health. While you may not fully eliminate type 2 diabetes from your life, with proper medical care and a proactive approach to your diet and exercise, you can ease your symptoms and avoid complications.

Have you considered clinical trials for Type 2 diabetes?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Type 2 diabetes, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Joining community groups and exercise programs for my condition made me feel empowered – but I want to be part of finding a cure.
Peter, 64

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