Type 2 Diabetes
- Increased thirst and frequent urination. These are the classic symptoms of diabetes. When you have diabetes, excess sugar (glucose) builds up in your blood. Your kidneys are forced to work overtime to filter and absorb the excess glucose. If your kidneys can't keep up, the excess sugar is excreted into your urine along with fluids drawn from your tissues. This triggers more frequent urination, which may leave you dehydrated. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you'll urinate even more.
- Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted for energy. This triggers intense hunger.
- Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, you may lose weight. Without the ability to use glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat. Calories are lost as excess glucose is released in the urine.
- Fatigue. If your cells are deprived of the sugar they need for energy or you are dehydrated from increased urination, you may become tired and irritable. Fatigue is described often as a tiredness that cannot be relieved by rest.
- Blurred vision. If your blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes. This may affect your ability to focus clearly.
- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. It has been observed that infections are more common in people with Type 2 diabetes.
- Areas of darkened skin. Some people with type 2 diabetes have patches of dark, velvety skin in the folds and creases of their bodies — usually in the armpits and neck. This condition, called acanthosis nigricans, may be a sign of insulin resistance.
- Tingling hands and feet. Excess sugar in your blood can lead to nerve damage. You may notice tingling and loss of sensation in your hands and feet, as well as burning pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet.
Red, swollen or tender gums. Diabetes may weaken your ability to fight germs, which increases the risk of infection in your gums and in the bones that hold your teeth in place. Your gums may pull away from your teeth, your teeth may become loose, or you may develop sores or pockets of pus in your gums — especially if you have a gum infection before diabetes develops.
These conditions are:
High blood pressure
- High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol
- Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides, another fat in the blood
Being older. Your risk starts increasing after age 45. 23% of people ages 60 or older have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents, however.
Obesity. About 80% of diabetics are overweight. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
- Being physically inactive. Not only does physical activity help you control your weight, but also it uses up the glucose in your blood as energy. When you exercise, your cells also become more sensitive to insulin.
- Family history of diabetes. If you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, your risk is greater for developing it yourself.
- Ethnicity. For unknown reasons, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, your risk of developing diabetes later increases.
Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.
- Guide to Type 2 Diabetes