Symptoms of Type 2 DiabetesOne of the reasons type 2 diabetes is so dangerous is that it can progress for months or years without symptoms. As many as 6 million Americans may have undiagnosed diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. By the time symptoms emerge, a great deal of damage may already have been done. That’s why it’s important to be tested by a doctor if you have risk factors for type 2 diabetes. READ MORE
Symptoms can include:
- Frequent urination. The kidneys work hard to filter out and absorb excess glucose from the blood, but what they can’t remove is excreted into the urine. Fluids are drawn from your tissues to help flush out the glucose. As tissues become dehydrated, you drink more, causing still more urination.
- Increased thirst. Dehydration results from frequent urination and fluid loss from tissues, causing you to become more thirsty.
- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. People with diabetes heal poorly and have more frequent infections. Women may experience frequent bladder and vaginal infections. It’s not clear why this happens. It may be that high levels of blood sugar impair the body’s natural healing mechanisms.
- Constant hunger. Cells don’t get the fuel they need because they can’t take in glucose, causing the body to crave nourishment.
- Weight loss. Because glucose derived from the foods you eat can’t be used for fuel, the body starts to break down muscle tissue and also fat for its caloric needs. The result is unintentional weight loss.
- Tingling hands and feet. High levels of glucose in the blood are toxic to the sensitive sheaths that surround nerve cells. Nerve damage can cause tingling or numbness in the feet and legs, as well as in the hands and arms.
- Blurred vision. High levels of blood sugar can dehydrate the tissues of your eyes as well as other tissues of the body. Delicate capillaries in the eye’s retina can be damaged by high levels of glucose, which are toxic to blood vessels. New, easily broken vessels can form and bleed into the retina. Blurred vision and, eventually, blindness can result.
- Fatigue and irritability. Lack of adequate fuel for the body’s energy needs, dehydration, and other factors can lead to fatigue and mood changes.
- Swollen gums. Gums and tooth sockets can become swollen and infected because diabetes hinders the body’s ability to fight infection.
A Global EpidemicType 2 diabetes is an epidemic in the US and all over the world.
About 24 million Americans have diabetes—that’s about 8% of the population. About a third of these, 5.7 million people, are undiagnosed. No fewer than 57 million people are thought to be prediabetic. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death listed on death certificates in the US (although that’s probably an underestimate). Experts believe that diagnosed diabetes will increase 165% by 2050. That means that one in three people born in 2000 will be affected by the disease. Alarmingly, children account for 20% of all new cases. READ MORE
Type 2 diabetes has also become a global epidemic. The World Health Organization estimates that over 220 million people around the world have type 2 diabetes (90% of people with diabetes worldwide), and it is among the top five causes of death in most developed countries.
What’s worse, the World Health Organization predicts that the number of cases of diabetes is very likely going to increase dramatically—to over 360 million by 2030. Deaths due to diabetes will increase by over 50% in the next 10 years unless serious and immediate steps are taken.
The economic cost of diabetes is enormous, not just to the individual, but to society as well. In the US, the total costs (direct and indirect) of diabetes in 2007 were estimated to be $174 billion. LESS
Why Is Diabetes Increasing?There are a number of reasons for the projected growth in the number of cases of diabetes. For one thing, a large portion of the American population is aging, and being age 45 or older is a risk factor for diabetes. For another, an increasing number of Americans are overweight and don’t get enough exercise, strong risk factors for getting diabetes. Finally, Hispanics and some other minorities have an increased risk of getting diabetes and also make up the fastest-growing part of the US population. READ MORE
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the US breaks down by race/ethnicity as follows:
Non-Hispanic blacks: 11.8%
Asian Americans: 7.5%
Non-Hispanic whites: 6.6%