Type 2 Diabetes Warning Signs
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most serious, rising conditions currently affecting our society. In some circles, it is even referred to as a ‘pandemic,’ even though it is a non-infectious disease. The conditions under which type 2 diabetes may flourish may be wide-spread however, making it necessary that action plans become implemented to properly raise awareness, reduce personal risk, diagnose, and perhaps one day, reduce incidence as a whole within society.
With all of this in mind, it is a little concerning that there is still a very high percentage of persons who go undiagnosed for many years, and that many health professionals are simply not educated enough on the intricacies of diabetes to help stop the spread of this serious condition. Many health professionals simply do not know the warning signs, do not keep them on the back of their radar, or maybe even dismissive of a patient’s concerns based on their own personal biases. Other clinicians are very hesitant to diagnose patients due to the health insurance hurdles the patient may face later on. This, however, is unhelpful because there is no amount of health insurance woes which is more pressing than helping a person live a longer and healthier life.
What’s a patient to do?
- Assess your risk: Does your family have a history of type 2 diabetes? Are you overweight, obese, or do you have an inactive lifestyle? Are you a smoker or a drinker? Do you have other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or polycystic ovarian syndrome? Are you a woman, or are you of a certain ethnic background, like Latino, African America, or Asian? If you answered yes to any of these, then you might be at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. There are various risk assessment tools out there, but this one by the American Diabetes Association is one of the more popular ones. You just answer a few questions to determine your risk level.
- Live as if you already had type 2 diabetes: Don’t wait until you’re diagnosed with pre-diabetes, or other metabolic health conditions – start living as if you had type 2 diabetes NOW. What does this mean? It means making lifestyle changes, such as modifying your diet, changing a routine to become more active, and working toward cutting or eliminating habits such as smoking, or drinking. These are behavior changes which will not only reduce your risk for diabetes, but for other health conditions as well. One little known fact is that the diet used for managing diabetes is not a special one – it is the diet we should all follow: anyone can start living as if they had type 2 diabetes by simply making baby steps to eat more fiber (in the form of fruits and vegetables), and cutting back on the excessive consumption of sugars, starches, sodium, and fats.
- Know the warning signs: Be aware of your own body. One of the reasons type 2 diabetes is such an invisible, ‘silent’ disease, is that many of the warning signs can be confused with other life markers: blurry vision, loss of energy, excessive sleepiness, excessive urination, excessive thirst, chronic yeast infections or UTIs, recurring boils or abscesses, wounds that won’t heal easily, mood swings or inability to focus due to high blood sugar. Many of these can be confused with changes brought on by aging, menopause, or by having other health conditions such as a thyroid imbalance. If you are concerned you might have pre-diabetes, or type 2 diabetes, ask your medical team for proper testing. If you get ignored, find a different doctor. It is your RIGHT to know if you have type 2 diabetes. Let me repeat that:
IT IS YOUR RIGHT TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE TYPE 2 DIABETES.
Have you experienced any complications associated with your diabetes?