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Warning Signs of Type 2 Diabetes

March 26 is Diabetes Alert Day, a national day of awareness about the warning signs of diabetes and the lifestyle changes that might prevent it. You can avoid serious health issues by learning the early symptoms of Type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic health condition that causes blood sugar levels to rise higher than normal. This happens when your body does not properly use insulin, the hormone that manages the amount of sugar moving within your blood cells. Whether your body is resisting insulin or is not producing enough, the symptoms resulting from high blood sugar levels develop over a long period of time. Many people might have Type 2 diabetes for years and not realize it. SEARHC has put together a list of the most common warning signs of Type 2 diabetes so you know what to look for with your health.

Eyeglasses upside down on a document next to a syringe magnifying the words "Diabetes Type 2"

You urinate more often than normal

Your kidneys try to respond to abnormally high sugar levels by filtering the extra sugar from the blood into your urine causing you to urinate more frequently. If you are taking more trips to the bathroom than normal, including waking up multiple times during the night, this could be a symptom of Type 2 diabetes.

You have dry mouth and are often thirsty

When your kidneys attempt to flush out extra sugar through frequent urination, your body loses a lot if its water and can become dehydrated. If you find yourself drinking substantially more water than usual, and you often have dry mouth, you should consider getting tested for diabetes.

You are constantly hungry no matter how much you eat

The body digests food by breaking it down into simple sugars for fuel. Type 2 diabetes makes it more difficult for this fuel to move from your blood cells to the rest of your body. Because of this, your body will stop getting energy from the food you eat and will trigger the feeling of constant hunger.

You are losing weight and you don’t know why

If your body is struggling to get the energy you need from food, it will start burning fat and muscle for energy instead. Combined with the water loss from frequent urination, you could potentially experience unexpected weight loss. This is a clear sign of possible diabetes.

Your vision becomes blurry

Extra sugar in the blood can damage the tiny blood vessels in the eyes that affect your eye muscle’s ability to bend your eye lens, making it harder to focus and cause blurry vision. This blurry vision can occur in one or both of the eyes and may come and go. Without treatment, permanent sight loss can occur.

Your wounds take longer to heal

Excess sugar in the blood can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves resulting in limited circulation. As a result, the time it takes even the smallest cuts and wounds to heal can be drastically increased. You might also feel pain or numbness in your hands and feet. If left untreated, this condition can progress into serious health complications by spreading across your arms and legs, making simple tasks such as walking painful.

If you are having any combination of the above symptoms, call your doctor and ask to be tested for diabetes. Treating diabetes early can help lower your future health risk.

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The SEARHC Crisis Help Line, 1.877.294.0074, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to residents of Southeast Alaska.