Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert
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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition whereby blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood – is at risk of rising to dangerous levels. High blood sugar levels are the result of insulin production not functioning properly. Without the regulation of insulin, blood sugar levels can soar, which in turn can cause a panoply of health problems.
Many signs of consistently high blood sugar levels are concentrated in the feet.
This is because high blood sugar levels often damage the nerves of your extremities first – a process known as neuropathy.
According to the Mayo Clinic, signs of neuropathy include burning, tingling, weakness or pain in your hands or feet.
These sensations often interfere with “daily activities or sleep”, warns the health body.
You should call your doctor for an appointment if you start to experience these unpleasant sensations, it advises.
Checking for foot problems
Everyone with diabetes should have an annual foot check.
“Your foot check is part of your annual review, which means you should have it as part of your diabetes care and it’s free on the NHS,” explains Diabetes UK.
According to the health body, this is because you’re more likely to have serious foot problems and these can lead to amputations.
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“Numbness or changes in sensation (also known as neuropathy) will be tested with a special piece of equipment,” it adds.
General symptoms of type 2 diabetes
“Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms do not necessarily make you feel unwell,” explains the NHS.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision.
According to the NHS, you’ll need a blood test to diagnose type 2 diabetes, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery.
The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better.
“Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems,” notes the NHS.
What happens next
Following a formal diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, you’ll usually be required to make lifestyle changes to bring blood sugar levels under control.
There’s nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll have to limit certain foods.
Carbohydrate foods are some of the worst culprits because they are broken down quickly by your body and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose (sugar).
The glycaemic index (GI) can help you to identify the riskiest carbs.
The GI is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.
High GI foods include sugar and sugary foods, sugary soft drinks and white bread.
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