What are the warning signs of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus?

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Your blood sugar

“Your blood sugar” who?

Your blood sugar’s high!

 

I know this could be very easy to joke about but almost a third of people who have diabetes do not know about it. Additionally, most people with pre-diabetes, a condition that puts people at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it. Let’s find out more about Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and how does it warn you: “Mister stop binging on rasmalai and laddus!”

 

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

It is a condition that occurs when body can’t use sugars (i.e. glucose) normally. Glucose is the main fuel for body’s cells. The levels of glucose in the body are controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is made by the pancreas. Insulin leads the glucose inside of your cells, taking it out of the bloodstream. In Type 2 diabetes, your cells are resistant to insulin, meaning that they just don’t take glucose inside even if insulin is there, which leaves much of that glucose in the bloodstream.

 

Once upon a time….

The earliest known written record that likely referred to diabetes was in 1500 B.C in the Egyptian Ebers papyrus. It referred to symptoms of frequent urination.

 

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes?

Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you thirsty all the time? Do you drink way more than you used to?
  2. Do you have to go to the toilet more frequently? Do you have to take more number of breaks to urinate causing it to disturb your work?
  3. Did your waist size reduce?
  4. Are you binge eating? Do you feel hungry even though you’re eating more than usual?

 

If your answer is yes for any of the above questions, then you need to get your blood sugars tested immediately. Recently American Diabetic Association provided a list of seven warning signs of type 2 diabetes mellitus which include:

  • frequent urination
  • excessive thirst
  • extreme hunger
  • unusual weight loss
  • feeling tired
  • irritability
  • blurry vision

Two other warning signs of type 2 diabetes mellitus are included by International Diabetes Federation which are:

  • slow healing wounds
  • recurrent infections

The ADA recommends you to “see your doctor right away” if one or more of these seven symptoms are present. Remember that not all signs have to be present for this condition to be there. Make sure you check with a doctor even if you have only one symptom!

 

Warning signs of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: Know the facts!

 

Why do I pee a lot? Why am I thirsty all day?

When blood glucose levels are above 250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L), the ability of kidneys to work properly and reabsorb water is blocked, leading to release of sugars and water into urine. That’s the reason diabetes was called “sweet urine disease” for many years. Since you urinate frequently, you lose lot of water from your body and your mouth becomes dry, leading you to be thirsty making you drink a lot of water.

 

Why am I so tired?

The muscle cells, like all the other cells in your body, are resisting insulin. This means that glucose (the source of their energy) isn’t entering the cells, and so they have no energy. This means, essentially, the cells are being starved making you feel tired.

 

Why everything looks hazy around me?

The high sugars in your blood stream, pulls the fluid from the eyes, especially the lens, affecting their ability to focus.

 

Why am I not full with four slices of pizza?

When glucose from blood cannot enter the cells, due to insulin resistance, body can’t convert the food you eat into energy. This lack of energy causes an increase in hunger.

 

Why am I losing weight?

Insulin resistance prevents your body from getting glucose from blood into cells to use as energy. When this occurs, the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, causing a reduction in overall body weight. But remember, this is unhealthy weight loss!

 

Why are my cuts not healing?

 High sugars in your blood over a period of time can affect that nerves and lead to poor blood circulation, making it hard for blood to reach or repair the wounds.

 

WARNING!!! Red Flags for Pre-Diabetes

  • BMI > 25 kg/m2; waist circumference in men > 40 inches (102cm) or in women > 35 inches (88 cm)
  • Age > 45 years
  • Family history of diabetes (parent / sibling)
  • Dark, thick velvety skin appearing around the neck or armpits
  • Lack of exercise
  • Low levels of good cholesterol (HDL), high fats (triglycerides >150 mg/dL) (mainly caused by high fatty diet and low physical activity)
  • Woman with history of polycystic ovary syndrome or diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes)
  • On drugs like steroids and anti-psychotics

What to Do

In ancient times, doctors would test for diabetes by tasting urine to see if it was sweet. Other diagnostic measures included checking to see if urine attracted ants or flies. Don’t worry, those were ancient methods that have long been forgotten with today’s advancements in the medical field. Your urine won’t be subjected to taste! So, what should you do?

Do I have to get a blood test?

Absolutely. Because diabetes can sneak up on you, it is wise to ask for a blood sugar check at your next doctor visit. The test is simple and takes only a few minutes. Random blood sugar, fasting blood glucose, 2-hour blood glucose after a meal and HBA1C are equally appropriate for testing. These tests measure sugar levels in your blood while the HBA1C (or hemoglobin A1C) test shows what your average blood glucose level was for the last 2-3 months before the test.

 

BASICALLY:

Prevention is always better than cure. In this developing world, hold on for a second and please pay attention to the warning signs. With simple lifestyle modifications and eating habits you can bring your blood sugars to normal range, without the need for medications. These are few facts I wanted to share so you can lead your family towards a healthy life. Please spread this around so that every family and community can be aware and lead a healthy lifestyle.

References:

Bays, H E, et al. Prevalence of Self-Reported Diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus and Associated Risk Factors in a National Survey in the US Population: SHIELD (Study to Help Improve Early Evaluation and Management of Risk Factors Leading to Diabetes). U.S. National Library of Medicine, 3 Oct. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17915014/.

“Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 Nov. 2016, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/risk-factors-type-2-diabetes.

“Type 2 Diabetes.” National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1 May 2017, www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/type-2-diabetes.

Pratley, Richard E. “The Early Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes.” The American Journal of Medicine, Sept. 2013, www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(13)00485-3/abstract.

 

I am an enthusiastic, free spirited doctor. I am interested in art and writing. I try to combine both my interest and made many posters for TB campaigns, menstrual health awareness and on diabetes for world health day in 2016.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Kalluru. I think after reading your post, i might need to go to a doctor. I’ve been experiencing some of the symptoms here like frequent urination and thirst for a long time now. We have diabetes in the family but i didn’t think that it would be me for our generation. Thanks for this!

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