Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can come as quite a shock to a lot of people. Type 2 diabetes develops gradually, and it can be easy to overlook or discount the early symptoms and warning signs, as they can be very subtle and may seem insignificant at the time. As is the case with a lot of health conditions, the earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treated, the better. Read on to learn if you are at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and how to recognise the early warning signs.
Listen to your body
Although many people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at all, there are some signs to look out for, for example thirst, hunger, dry skin or fatigue. What’s more important is the intensity or frequency of these symptoms. You should consider whether what you’re feeling is normal for you. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you frequently thirsty and drinking several more glasses of water than you usually do on a daily basis?
- Have your hunger levels increased even though your typical eating and exercise routine has remained the same?
- Are you feeling tired all the time?
- Do you make frequent trips to the bathroom, especially at night?
- Is your skin unusually dry and itchy?
- When you get a sore, does it take a long time to heal?
- Have you noticed that feeling of pins and needles or numbness in your feet – and not because they’ve “fallen asleep”?
- Has your vision become blurry?
- Are you experiencing more mood swings or headaches than you normally would?
- Have you been feeling dizzy?
Not everyone experiences the same symptoms of diabetes. You may have one of these symptoms, a few, or several. If you’re feeling unwell, or are concerned about your health, make an appointment with your personal medical practitioner or GP to discuss getting your blood sugar levels tested.
Evaluate your risk
Some people don’t experience any symptoms of diabetes until they experience complications of diabetes such as heart disease. This is why it’s important to be aware if you are at an increased risk of diabetes. Some factors, such as age or cultural background, are outside of our control, while others, such as weight are able to be altered. If you fit in to any of the categories listed below, you are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes1:
- Are overweight or obese (BMI >25.0kg/m2 or BMI >30.0kg/m2, respectively)
- Are physically inactive.
- Have a family history of diabetes
- Are older than 55 years of age (our diabetes risk increases as we age)
- Are over 45 years of age and overweight
- Are over 45 years of age and have high blood pressure (resting blood pressure >140/90 mmHg)
- Are over 35 years of age and are from an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background
- Are over 35 years of age and are from Pacific Island, Indian subcontinent or Chinese cultural background
- Are a woman who has given birth to a child over 4.5kg, or had gestational diabetes when pregnant, or had a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Diabetes Australia recommends people concerned about their diabetes risk take this quiz, and those who score >12 (high risk) speak to their GP about getting tested for diabetes.
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, a healthy lifestyle (including eating a healthy diet, being physically activity and a 5-10% weight loss) can help you better manage your diabetes, prevent complications of diabetes, and live a long, healthy life! Learn about how the Jenny Craig program can help you better manage your diabetes here.
1 Source: Diabetes Australia www.diabetesaustralia.com.au