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HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE EARLY SIGNS OF TYPE 2 DIABETES

By Jennifer Gregory

Type 2 Diabetes is a lifelong condition that impairs the body’s ability to use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone in your body that controls your blood sugar levels – without it, the body cannot manage blood sugar levels properly. The sugar in your blood builds up instead of being used for energy.

Regular check-ups are extremely important in early diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, and those between the ages of 40 and 70 should be checked every three years. If you have a family history of Type 2 Diabetes and/or are overweight, begin regular checks earlier than age 40 and more frequently.

The onset of Type 2 Diabetes and its symptoms can be gradual, and often people do not know that they have it at first because the symptoms are subtle. It is therefore extremely important to know the symptoms so that if you detect small changes, you can mention it to your doctor. Some of the common early symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes include:

  1. Frequent urination When blood sugar is high, as is the case with Type 2 Diabetes, urination is one of the ways that your body attempts to remove sugar from your system. Frequent urination, especially at night, may be a symptom.

  2. Unexplained weight loss While your body usually uses sugar from food for energy, if you have Diabetes your body cannot convert sugar as effectively. Instead, it will begin to burn fat stores for energy, leading to weight loss.

  3. Vision issues Blurred vision can be a result of high blood sugar, which affects the level of fluid in our eyes and can alter our vision.

  4. Fatigue/exhaustion You may feel weak and tired if you have Diabetes due to your body’s inability to convert sugar into energy.

  5. Skin discolouration Skin discolouration, especially around skins’ folds and creases, experienced by those with Diabetes is called acanthosis nigricans. It occurs as a result of the body resisting insulin.

  6. Slow healing of cuts and wounds Cuts and wounds may heal slowly for those with Diabetes because the high sugar level in the blood impairs its ability to circulate and heal these areas.

  7. Tingling/numbness in hands or feet The condition of tingling/numbness in the hands and feet is called neuropathy. High blood sugar can damage the body’s nerves and blood circulation, leading to the numbing sensation.

  8. Extreme thirst and hunger Those with Diabetes may find often themselves to be very hungry, even after eating, because sugar may be prevented from getting to cells to give the body energy. Extreme thirst is another symptom. The kidneys are working to get rid of excess sugar in the blood and use the body’s fluids to do so, which has a dehydrating effect.

If you think you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor. Early diagnosis and management of Type 2 Diabetes can prevent long-term complications. At LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, more than 40% of our members have Diabetes. We have highly customized programs to help you manage your symptoms and live your healthiest life. Visit our website to learn more: www.livewellclinic.ca

Jennifer Gregory, Director of Marketing and Communications at LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic and The SPARKS METHOD™