You can have type 2 diabetes without having any symptoms. However, type 2 diabetes often causes frequent urination and thirst Table 01. Type 2 diabetes may come on so gradually that you don't even notice it. In these cases, the first symptoms you may experience will reflect nerve damage in your hands or feet because of impaired circulation. You may, however, feel the need to urinate frequently, or excrete a larger amount of urine than normal. These symptoms occur because your kidneys excrete extra water to dilute the sugar that has entered your urine. As your body excretes extra water, you will become dehydrated and thirsty.
Later symptoms include weight loss despite increased hunger and food intake. This occurs because diabetics are unable to use their blood glucose for energy, so body fat is burned in an attempt to provide “fuel”. Other symptoms may include blurred vision, weakness and fatigue, recurring vaginal yeast infections, and skin infections.
Table 1. Common Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Increased thirst Frequent urination Weight loss Fatigue Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet Problems with sexual function Blurred vision Yeast infections, or other vaginal or urinary tract infections Skin infections or slow-healing cuts or sores
Heredity and ethnicity can be risk factors for type 2 diabetes Table 02. Type 2 diabetes sometimes runs in families. Having a mother with the disease seems to be a particularly strong factor: research indicates that patients whose mothers have diabetes are twice as likely to get the disease as those whose father has it. Ethnic background influences risk as well. African Americans, Hispanics, and Native Americans account for a disproportionate number of type 2 diabetes cases. In fact, the Pima Indians of Arizona have the highest incidence in the world: 10 times that of the general U.S. population.
Your risk for diabetes increases with age. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases after the age of 45, with significant increased risk in persons 65 years of age or older. However, as mentioned previously, type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed in more and more children and young adults who are obese and sedentary.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. The vast majority of people with type 2 diabetes are obese.
The combination of obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol, known as the metabolic syndrome, is a risk factor for diabetes. This condition also puts people at risk for heart disease and strokes Hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), caused by accumulated cholesterol and other blood fats and cellular debris, is twice as common in people with diabetes. Therefore, diabetics have a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes than non-diabetics. This increase in cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetics is associated with the combination of insulin resistance due to obesity, problems with lipid (fat) metabolism, and hypertension.
Having diabetes during pregnancy, having delivered a large baby (more than 9 pounds), or having impaired glucose tolerance increases your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Table 2. Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes
Obesity (weighing 20% or more over desired body weight) Impaired glucose tolerance Having a parent or sibling with diabetes African-American, Hispanic, Asian-Americans/Pacific Islander, or Native-American ethnicity Age of 45 years or older Having delivered a baby weighing more than 9 pounds History of diabetes during pregnancy Blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher HDL cholesterol of 35 mg/dL or lower and/or triglyceride level of 250 or higher
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