Reading Time: 4 minutes

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is one common condition where the body loses the ability to use up glucose in the blood. This glucose is also known as blood sugar.

Some of the most common early warning signs of type 2 diabetes are frequent urination, fatigue, extreme thirst, and persistent hunger. There are also other symptoms that may alert you to this disease. Its diagnosis can feel life-changing, but type 2 diabetes is very manageable if caught early.

The onset of type 2 diabetes is often gradual, and the signs and symptoms can be mild or unnoticeable during the early stages. Many people, as a result, may not realize that they have this condition. What are the potential early warning signs of type 2 diabetes?

What are the early warning signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

The most common early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include;

Frequent urination

This happens when blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys remove the excess blood sugar by filtering it out of the blood. This can lead to the need to urinate more frequently, oftentimes at night.

Fatigue

Type 2 diabetes may impact a person’s energy levels and cause them to feel fatigued. This tiredness occurs as a result of low sugar moving from the bloodstream into the body’s cells.

Increased hunger 

Your digestive system functions by breaking food down into glucose, which the body uses as fuel. However, in people with diabetes, not enough of this glucose moves from the bloodstream into the body’s cells; hence they often do not get enough energy from the food they eat.

Unplanned weight loss

If you are losing weight without trying to, this can be a diabetes warning sign. However, it can also be a sign of other conditions, so be sure to check with your doctor and get tested.

If you have type 2 diabetes, there is extra glucose circulating in your body and ends up going into your urine. This may cause weight loss, even while you’re eating more and more to satisfy your hunger.

Increased thirst

Being extremely thirst is another common early symptom of diabetes. This is tied to high blood sugar levels and is exacerbated by frequent urination. Often, drinking won’t satisfy the thirst.

Blurred vision

Excess sugar in the blood may cause damage to the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, which can cause blurred vision. This blurred vision may occur in one or both of the eyes and may come and go.

Slow-healing wounds

Over time, uncontrolled high blood sugar levels narrow your blood vessels, slowing blood circulation and restricting vital nutrients and oxygen from reaching the wound. There are several reasons wounds will heal more slowly if you have diabetes. 

Frequent infections

We all can get a bacterial, fungal, or yeast infection from time to time, but people with type 2 diabetes tend to get these infections more often.

Numbness or tingling

You may notice tingling or numbness in your hands, fingers, feet, and toes if you have type 2 diabetes. This is often a sign of damage to the nerves or diabetic neuropathy.

Areas of darkened skin

Patches of darkened skin forming on the creases of the neck, armpit, or groin can indicate a higher risk of type 2 diabetes. 

Itching and yeast infections

Itchy skin is oftentimes caused by type 2 diabetes, and it is sometimes one of the first symptoms. However, it can be caused by various conditions related to diabetes, such as poor blood circulation, often in the lower legs.

What are the factors that may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes?

Developing type 2 diabetes depend on a combination of risk factors such as;

  • being overweight or obese
  • being 45 years of age or older
  • having a family history of diabetes
  • living a sedentary lifestyle
  • eating an unhealthful diet
  • a medical history of gestational diabetes, heart disease, or stroke
  • having prediabetes

Complications of type 2 diabetes

Untreated type 2 diabetes can affect many major organs, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. Managing type 2 diabetes and controlling your blood sugar can lower your risk for these complications;

  • Nerve damage
  • Heart and blood vessel disease
  • Serious eye diseases
  • Kidney disease
  • Slow healing of wounds and infections

How can you prevent yourself from getting type 2 diabetes?

Healthy lifestyle choices are the surest ways that help prevent type 2 diabetes, even if you have a family history of diabetes. If you are prediabetic, lifestyle changes may slow or stop the progression to diabetes.

Living a healthy lifestyle includes;

  • Eating healthy foods, especially foods that are lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Losing weight. Shedding some amount of weight can delay the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. 
  • Getting active. Moderate to vigorous activity, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, can help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Summary

Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common conditions that bring about high blood sugar levels. The early warning signs and symptoms can include frequent urination, fatigue, increased thirst, blurred vision, slow wound healing, and yeast infections.

If you may be experiencing any of these early signs of type 2 diabetes, it’s best to talk with your doctor right away. It is a manageable condition, especially when found early. In addition, early diagnosis and swift treatment can significantly reduce the risk of later complications.

to get early access to Medicwell


Jennifer Billings is the Medical Editor at Medicwell. She has 13 years of experience in internal medicine with a demonstrated history of working in the medical practice industry, both inpatient and outpatient urgent care. She has been published on Medicwell Blog, Medium.com, and is a regular contributor at MedCity News, Physician Family, and Psychology Today.