Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It is non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM). In type 2 diabetes, patients can still produce insulin. However, the amount produced is either inadequate for their body’s needs or the fat and muscle cells ignore the insulin, i.e. the problem of insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone which is necessary for the body to use glucose as an energy source. When we consume carbohydrate either in the form of sugars or starches, all carbohydrate will be broken down into glucose, which serves as the basic fuel for the body. Insulin hormone aids in taking the glucose from the bloodstream into the body cells. In the absent of insulin, a large amount of glucose will stay in the bloodstream instead of going into body cells. When this happens, the body cells will be energy-starved. Over a long period of high blood glucose levels, it may cause damage to the eyes, kidneys, nerves and heart.
Although type 2 diabetes is said to be an adult onset diabetes mellitus (AODM) and usually happens in patients over 30 year-old, the number of teenage type 2 diabetes patients is increasing recently. In fact, it is now more common than type 1 diabetes in childhood. The main risk factor is obesity which is the result of poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise. It is estimated that for each 20% of overweight, the chance for diabetes doubles.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms may develop very slowly and you might not notice that you have it for years. The most common symptom of type 2 diabetes is the presence of large quantity of glucose in the urine. Patients will feel extreme thirsty due to dehydration as fluid is drawn out from the tissues when blood sugar is high. Increased thirst leads to extra water consumption and thus increases in urinating frequency. Blurred vision may also happen when fluid is drawn out from the eye tissues due to dehydration.
Patients may experience extreme fatigue, nausea and vomiting too. Patients will also experience weight loss despite increase in appetite. When there is no sugar moving into body cells, it will trigger the feeling of hunger. However, the extra calories from extra eating are lost as excess glucose into urine and the body has to burn fat and muscle for energy. Type 2 diabetes may also affect the ability to heal and resist infections and therefore patients tend to have bladder, skin, and vaginal infections. High blood sugar level will also lead to lethargy and coma. Some patients may also have areas of darkened skin, normally under the armpits and neck. This may be a sign of insulin resistance.
- MedicineNet, Ruchi Mathur, MD, Diabetes Mellitus. http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus/article.htm
- American Diabetes Association, Alexandria VA, Facts about Type2, http://www.diabetessymptomsdiagnosis.com/type_2_diabetes_symptoms.htm
- MayoClinic, Type 2 diabetes-Symptoms, June 13 2009. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/type-2-diabetes/DS00585/DSECTION=symptoms
This page was last modified on: July 30, 2012