15th, April , 2021
Your body is a finely-tuned machine with an incredible number of moving parts that are all integrated in one way or another. This means that a problem in one area often leads to an outward sign in another. When it comes to Type 2 diabetes, which creates a problem in how your body processes glucose (sugar), the effects of the disease are systemic, and your body may throw up warning flags in a number of ways if you know where to look.
Here at Lifestyle Physicians, we work with our patients in Warrenton and Culpeper, Virginia, to recognize the early signs of Type 2 diabetes, and even prediabetes, which allows them to gain the upper hand on the disease before it’s able to take hold and affect their health in irreversible ways.
To get you started, here’s a look at the early signs of prediabetes and diabetes so that, together, we can intervene early on and make a difference.
Imagine if you got pre flu or pre-heart attack, a diagnosis that allows you to change the course of your health, avoiding the problem. With Type 2 diabetes, your body affords you this unique opportunity. Prediabetes is a condition characterized by higher-than-normal blood sugar, which is not quite in full-on diabetes territory — yet. The easiest way to figure out if you fall into the prediabetic category is to have your blood checked regularly during your annual wellness exams with us.
Outside of a blood test, there are typically no obvious signs of the condition. Some people may develop darkened areas of skin, usually around the neck and armpits, as well as over the joints, including the knees, elbows, and knuckles. If you start to see darker skin in these areas, you should come in and get it checked out.
The medical world still doesn’t fully understand what causes diabetes, but there a number of factors that put you more at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. One of the biggest culprits when it comes to Type 2 diabetes is weight. When you’re overweight, you have more fatty tissue, which is resistant to insulin.
Another major factor is lack of exercise. Your body uses glucose as energy and if you’re not moving around, your glucose sits idle and builds up in your blood.
Rounding out the risk factors, getting older seems to play a part in Type 2 diabetes, as does race, with Hispanics, Asian Americans, and African Americans being more prone to Type 2 diabetes. And if you have a family history of the disease, you need to be on the lookout.
While these risk factors don’t necessarily put you on an inevitable path toward Type 2 diabetes, they should certainly put you on high alert.
Whether or not you fall into a high-risk category, there are certain signs that should make you sit up and take notice. One of the biggest early indicators of Type 2 diabetes is increased thirst. As the sugar builds up in your bloodstream, it pulls fluids from your tissues. In fact, fluid can even be drawn from your eyes, leaving you with blurry vision.
Nagging hunger is also a good indicator. The insulin in your body is responsible for delivering glucose to your cells. With Type 2 diabetes, your insulin isn’t getting the job done, leaving your cells hungry for energy. This can also leave you fatigued, which is included on our list of symptoms to watch out for.
One of our goals at Lifestyle Physicians is to take an integrative approach to medicine, and we encourage you to take this approach when keeping an eye on your own health. Just as smokers know to watch out for respiratory problems, if you fall into any of the Type 2 diabetes risk categories and you’re starting to experience any of the symptoms described above, odds are the two are related.
While no one wants to be diagnosed with diabetes of any kind, there’s a lot we can do to minimize, and even reverse, prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes — especially if we’re ahead of the ball.
If you still have questions about Type 2 diabetes or you suspect you might be at risk, call us or use our online scheduling tool to book an appointment.
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