You could be living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, read more to see if anything sounds familiar.
A shocking number of people in the United States do not know that they are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), that number is at present estimated at 8.1 million with an undisclosed number of new cases occurring every year. There has also been a surprising increase in the number of children who are falling into this statistic.
Most alarming is data that chronicles the potential complications of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. For this and other reasons, it is often referred to as the “silent killer”. The danger lies in the fact that if you don’t know you have this disease, it is not being treated. And, medical experts say, the longer blood sugar levels are out of control, the greater the risk of developing an accompanying life-threatening or disabling condition. Complications of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, according to reports from the Mayo Clinic include, but are not limited to:
- Cardiovascular disease that can result in narrowing of the arteries, heart attack or a stroke.
- Nerve damage or diabetic neuropathies that can affect major organs in the body such as the cardiovascular and digestive systems.
- Type 2 diabetes is frequently a precursor to various complications of the feet that may necessitate toe, foot or leg amputation. While tingling, numbness and loss of feeling in the hands and feet are warning signs, this condition can occur with little or no obvious symptoms.
- Kidney damage. Untreated diabetes can severely impair the kidney filtering system. Left too long untreated, erratic blood glucose levels can overwork the delicate kidneys and even cause irreversible kidney disease.
- Retinopathy or eye damage is a common effect of uncontrolled glucose levels. The greatest risks are the various complications that can lead to blindness.
- Hearing problems is another common complaint of people with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.
Do I Have Type 2 Diabetes?
Without being tested, few people appropriately respond to the question “do I have type 2 diabetes?” While it is important to be tested for a conclusive diagnosis of this disease, there are several warning signs of type 2 diabetes that should not be ignored such as:
- Increased urination. This can occur if the kidneys are working extra hard to get rid of excess glucose in the blood.
- Excessive thirst could be symptomatic of loss of fluid in the body from frequent urination.
- Increased hunger. Fluctuations in blood glucose levels can trigger sudden urges to eat.
- Lack of moisture in the mouth causes a sensation and type 2 diabetic symptom known as dry mouth.
- Rapid and unexplained weight loss or weight gain.
- Lethargy. Feeling easily fatigue could be a result of the body’s efforts to compensate for the lack of glucose in the cells. It can also be linked to sleep interruptions caused by the frequent need to urinate at night.
- Vision problems. Uncontrolled blood sugar can change the shape and lens of the eyes. This typically manifest as occasional flashes of light, blurred or distorted vision.
- Slower healing of abrasions, cuts and bruises is a consequence of blood vessel damage and a classic sign of type 2 diabetes.
- More frequent occurrences of yeast infections. Increased sugar in the body creates a conducive environment for yeast to grow.
Diabetes specialists suggest that if you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, it could flag a fully developed or prediabetic condition. It is important to recognize that early detection and treatment of type 2 diabetes may prevent or minimize the risk of developing one or more of the debilitating complications of this disease.