Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas begins to struggle to make the hormone insulin. As the body’s cells become insulin resistant, symptoms of the condition become noticeable. Experts at the Royal College of Nursing highlight the “typical symptoms” of the condition that you can visibly see. First off, your vision itself might have become more blurred; another sign is noticing that you have been losing weight without trying to.
Muscle bulk may have been decreasing, and you may find that any cuts, such as a paper cut, take a long time to heal.
Other warning signs that you don’t necessarily see, but can feel, include:
- Genital itching
- Increased thirst.
You may also find yourself waking up during the night to urinate, which should be a red flag.
The charity Diabetes UK stated: “Early diagnosis is vital. Complications can begin five to six years before some people actually find out they have type 2 diabetes.”
Unaddressed type 2 diabetes means there is going to be a high mass of sugar (i.e. glucose) floating in the blood.
Otherwise known as high blood sugar, this will irritate the blood vessels and lead to health complications.
For instance, high blood sugar can lead to retinopathy (eye problems), foot issues, which may require the limb needing amputation, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Other health issues may include: gum disease, nerve damage, and sexual problems.
Diabetes UK explained how high blood sugar can lead to such a widespread list of complications.
“High sugar levels in your blood over a long period of time can seriously damage your blood vessels,” the charity began.
“If your blood vessels aren’t working properly, blood can’t travel to the parts of your body it needs to.
“This means your nerves won’t work properly either and means you lose feeling in parts of your body.”
The charity continued: “Once you’ve damaged the blood vessels and nerves in one part of your body, you’re more likely to develop similar problems in other parts of your body. So if your feet are damaged, serious heart problems can follow.”
Adults from the age of 40 to 75 years of age in the UK are eligible for a free NHS Health Check.
Not only is the diagnostic tool used to identify diabetes, it can also highlight the risk of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease and dementia.
People within this age range should receive an automatic invite from their doctors to attend the Health Check every five years.
However, if you notice any warning signs of type 2 diabetes, you do not have to wait until your Health Check to get a diagnosis.
Should you experience any signs of high blood sugar, book an appointment with your doctor and request a blood test to check for diabetes.
A blood test measures the amount of sugar there is in your blood, which can inform a diabetes diagnosis.
From there, if diabetes is diagnosed, your doctor can explain how best to manage the condition.
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