Health Crush Contributor
Diabetes is a national epidemic and it hits the Hispanic population especially hard. According to the CDC, “40% of US adults are expected to develop type 2 diabetes. That number is even higher for Hispanic men and women—more than 50%.” With statistics like that, it’s vital to know how to spot the diabetes early symptoms of type 2 diabetes and what you can do to prevent it. Here is everything you need to know about the warning signs of diabetes and who is at greatest risk.
1. How Diabetes is Diagnosed
An A1C (glycerated hemoglobin) test is the most common way to screen for diabetes. This test measures your blood sugar level for the past two or three months. According to the American Diabetes Association: normal is less than 5.7%, prediabetes is 5.7%-6.4% and over 6.4% indicates that you have diabetes.
2. FBG (Fasting Blood Glucose) Test
This is another common way to test for diabetes by determining your blood glucose levels when you haven’t had anything to eat or drink for at least 8 hours.
3. OGTT (Oral Glucose Tolerance) Test
This method is most commonly used to test for gestational diabetes. Your blood sugar is checked 2 hours before and 2 hours after drinking a sweet drink.
4. What’s the Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 1 diabetes used to be commonly known as juvenile diabetes. It occurs when your body doesn’t produce insulin. It is usually diagnosed at a young age and is rare. Type 2 diabetes is much more common, about 90-95% of cases according to the CDC, and occurs when your body either doesn’t produce enough insulin, or has become insulin resistant, leading to high blood sugar.
5. There are Several Symptoms of Undiagnosed Diabetes
If you are having any of the following symptoms, it’s probably time to ask your doctor for an A1C test.
6. Constant Thirst
When your blood glucose is too high, it can dehydrate you causing excessive thirst.
7. Needing to Urinate Frequently
Constant thirst will cause you to drink more and need to urinate frequently. This is one of the most common early symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
8. Extreme Fatigue
When your blood sugar drops, it leaves you feeling tired and cranky. You may feel like you’re having that mid-afternoon lag all day long.
9. Feeling Hungry All the Time
When insulin isn’t processing sugar and moving it through your bloodstream, your body will crave energy. Think mid-afternoon snack-attack.
10. Blurred Vision
The fluid in your eyes can be affected by the dehydrating effects of high blood sugar, causing them to swell and making it harder to focus.
11. Sores that Heal Slowly
Over time, high blood sugar can really take a toll on your body and make it harder to heal from wounds and bruises.
12. Unexplained Weight-loss
Although obesity is one of the warning signs of type 2 diabetes, you may also experience unexplained weight-loss. When you aren’t able to process glucose and use it as fuel, your body could start breaking down muscle and fat for energy.
13. Frequent Infections
When you aren’t able to turn the food you eat into fuel, it weakens your ability to fight off infection.
14. Numbness, Tingling or Pain in Hands and Feet
This is a symptom of long-term undiagnosed diabetes. Over time, high blood sugar can cause nerve damage which usually starts in your outer extremities.
15. Dark Patches of Skin
Darkened patches of skin, usually around your neck or armpits, can be a sign of insulin resistance.
16. If you are on Medication For Type 2 Diabetes, you May Become Hypoglycemic
This happens when your blood sugar levels get too low.
17. Symptoms of Dangerously Low Blood Sugar
Serious hypoglycemia symptoms include: shaking, dizziness, confusion, sweating and racing heart.
18. Learning to Manage Your Blood Sugar
Diabetes care guidelines include learning how to recognize and manage the symptoms of both high and low blood sugar.
19. Being Overweight is one of the Top Warning Signs of Diabetes
If you have a BMI over the 85th percentile, you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
20. Sedentary Lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with becoming overweight in the future.
If you have a sibling or close relation with type 2 diabetes, you are also at risk for contracting it. Diabetes also affects a higher number of Hispanic, African-American, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.
22. Age Plays a Role
The CDC recommends that anyone over the age of 45 get a type 2 diabetes screening during their regular check-up.
Some women develop gestational diabetes, which can be dangerous for mom and baby. Luckily, gestational diabetes usually goes away after the pregnancy.
24. Gestational Diabetes is also a Risk Factor
Although it usually goes away after pregnancy, women who develop gestational diabetes are more 35-60% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life according to the CDC.
25. The Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) Connection
PCOS is an endocrine disorder that causes women to have irregular periods and other hormonal issues, has been linked to insulin resistance.
26. You Have had a Big Baby
Large babies (over 9 pounds) might just be big babies, but gestational diabetes and insulin resistance have been linked to high birth weight. So, it’s possible you had undiagnosed gestational diabetes which could predispose you to type 2 later on.
27. What is Prediabetes?
Prediabetes is really just elevated blood sugar levels. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, that’s your signal to start making lifestyle changes to prevent it from progressing.
28. The CDC Lifestyle Change Program
If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes and don’t know where to start, consider enrolling in the CDC Lifestyle Change Program. It’s free and will provide you with guidance and support to stay healthy.
29. Manage Your Blood Glucose
One of the most important diabetes care guidelines is learning to manage your blood glucose. The American Diabetes Association has a great guide to get you started.
30. Eat Healthy
Everyone should strive to eat a healthy diet, but it’s especially important for managing your weight and keeping your blood sugar in check with type 2 diabetes.
31. Keep Moving
Exercise is another vital way to keep the pounds off and diabetes at bay.
32. Complications From Type 2 Diabetes
If you don’t take steps to manage your diabetes it can lead to serious health problems.
33. Heart Disease
High blood sugar affects your circulation, damages blood vessels and can lead to high blood pressure and heart attack.
High blood pressure puts you at risk for strokes as well.
High blood sugar is no joke. Over time, the assault on your nerve cells can cause numbness or pain in your extremities.
36. Erectile Dysfunction
One very unfortunate result of neuropathy can be erectile dysfunction.
37. Kidney Failure
Blame it on the high blood sugar again. Over time, it can seriously damage your kidneys, leading to kidney failure and requiring dialysis or transplant.
38. Skin Infections
Because your body isn’t able to fight off infections or heal as quickly, you may be more susceptible to fungal and other skin infections.
Blurred vision is one of the early signs of type 2 diabetes and eventually, it can progress to retinopathy and blindness.
40. Cataracts and Glaucoma
Other vision problems associated with type 2 diabetes are cataracts and glaucoma.
41. Loss of Feet and Legs
The combination of poor circulation and being susceptible to infections can eventually make it necessary to amputate your feet or legs.
42. Hearing Loss
Type 2 diabetes impacts every part of your body, including hearing loss.
Diabetic ketoacidosis can occur if you forget to take your insulin or you need to adjust the dosage. Symptoms include: vomiting, confusion, shortness of breath and sweet-smelling breath.
44. Insulin for Diabetes Treatment
If you can’t control type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes, you may need to take insulin. There are a few different types and most are administered via injection.
45. Other Diabetes Medications
There are a number of oral diabetes medications that can lower your blood sugar without taking insulin. Since they work in different ways, they are often prescribed in combination.
46. Sulfonylureas and Meglitinides
Sulfonylureas and meglitinides stimulate your pancreas to produce insulin.
47. Biguanides and Thiazolidinediones
Biguanides and thiazolidinediones lower the amount of blood glucose your liver produces.
48. DPP-4 Inhibitors
Unlike the other oral medications, DPP-4 inhibitors are unlikely to cause hypoglycemia.
49. Low-dose Aspirin
Since diabetics have a greater risk of heart attack, low-dose aspirin can be helpful as a therapy.
50. Other Supplements For Type 2 Diabetes
There are a number of nutritional and herbal supplements that can help control type 2 diabetes.
51. Get Your Omega-3s
The research is mixed, but some studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids can help to prevent or control type 2 diabetes.
52. Chromium Supplements
Again, the research is mixed, but chromium picolinate supplements may help control blood sugar.
53. Consider Ayurvedic Gurmar
Gurmar has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to control diabetes and regulate blood sugar.
54. Bariatric Surgery
If you’ve tried everything and can’t control your weight, bariatric surgery may be the best way to slim down and get healthy.
55. Talk to Your Doctor
Whether you think you may have the early signs of type 2 diabetes or if you’ve been diagnosed and want to try supplements, ALWAYS talk to your physician right away.