Type 2 Diabetes: Why is High Blood Sugar Dangerous?
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes that usually occurs in adults. It is also called non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
The problem is that instead of moving into muscle, fat, and liver cells, glucose builds up in the bloodstream and enters organs and tissues that do not require insulin. For example, excess sugar can accumulate in blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys and damage them over time.
As a result, people with diabetes can develop the following complications.
- Retinopathy is damage to the retina of the eyes and impaired microcirculation. It can cause low vision and blindness in people who have diabetes.
- Nephropathy leads to damage to the blood vessels in the kidneys.
- Neuropathy is a type of nerve damage.
- Atherosclerosis occurs when the inner lining of the artery becomes damaged.
The effect of diabetic complications has a significant impact on quality of life and can reduce life expectancy.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Adults
- Chronic fatigue. It affects a person's performance, causing reduced activity and deteriorating health. If you feel tired even after a full night's sleep, you should check your blood sugar.
- Extreme hunger. Most people enjoy eating, and therefore feeling excessive hunger does not appear to be a cause for concern. However, if you do not feel full after eating a meal, it can be a warning sign of type 2 diabetes.
- Numbness and pain in the legs. One of the main and most common complications of diabetes is diabetic polyneuropathy. Whenever you experience loss of sensation or numbness in the limbs, it is important to realize that these signs may indicate diabetes.
- Excessive thirst. It is a symptom you should not ignore. People with diabetes mellitus can drink 2 to 6 liters (10-30 glasses) of fluids per day.
- Frequent urination. With diabetes, the volume of urine can be up to 10 liters per day. If you need to urinate more often than usual, this is a reason to visit a physician.
- Blurred vision. Symptoms of visual impairment in diabetes mellitus include a gradual loss of vision, floating spots or dark strings in the individual's field of vision, etc.
- Unexplained weight loss. If you are losing weight without trying in less than six months, such weight loss can be a sign of a health problem. You should see your physician.
- Skin manifestations are the most visible signs of blood sugar abnormalities. Skin problems include impaired wound healing, frequent pus-filled bumps on the skin, fungal infections, dryness, and itching.
Around 25% of people who have already started to develop diabetes mellitus do not know about the warning signs. Type 2 diabetes can go unnoticed for a long time. Patients overlook the early symptoms of the disease since they can be mistaken as signs of overworking or fatigue. As the disease progresses, an increase in blood glucose causes serious complications.
Risk Factors for Diabetes
- Age over 45 years.
- Obesity (Class I obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes mellitus by 2 times, Class II - 5 times, and Class III - more than 10 times).
- High cholesterol.
- Arterial hypertension.
- Genetic predisposition (having a family member or close relative with diabetes increases the risk of getting the disease by 2-6 times).
Type 2 Diabetes Treatment
Diabetes is a condition that affects your way of life. It is still impossible to cure diabetes mellitus by removing the cause of the disease. However, there are proven strategies and methods to control it. The main aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood glucose levels in the optimal range.
Diabetes management requires a high level of patient awareness and motivation. You need to learn about your condition and understand the need to change your lifestyle. All these efforts can help reduce the risk of complications. Maintaining normal blood glucose levels (like in people without diabetes) can prevent or lower the risk of complications.
One of the major factors that contribute to successful treatment is a balanced diet. People with diabetes should exclude all sweet treats and carbohydrate-rich foods from their diet. It is also worth noting that a low-calorie diet helps to normalize weight. As a result, it has a complex effect on the body, leading to weight loss, regulation of metabolic processes, and restoration of tissue sensitivity to the secreted insulin.
Lifestyle Changes for Diabetes
According to experts, remission of type 2 diabetes is possible through weight loss. Although there is no cure for diabetes, keeping blood glucose levels within a target range for several years can be considered a recovery. The successful management of diabetes starts with fighting obesity. The patient needs to make physical activity part of everyday life, break bad habits, and follow a diet.
Patients with diabetes may need to take medications if they do not follow the dietary guidelines. After having something sugary or junk food, you need to take your medication prescribed by the physician to lower blood sugar levels.
Early detection of the disease increases the chances of successful treatment. Diagnosing the earlier stages of type 2 diabetes can improve the odds of managing the disease without medication. Success depends on the ability to follow the prescribed diet and the physician’s recommendations.
How Many People Are Diabetic?
According to the data from the 10th edition of the Diabetes Atlas, one in ten adults worldwide currently have diabetes. The prevalence is expected to increase over the coming decades. The greatest observed increases in the incidence of type 1 diabetes are among adults, while type 2 diabetes prevails in adolescents.
About 537 million people are living with diabetes. More than 75% of all adults with diabetes now live in low- and middle-income countries. Diabetes caused around 6.7 million deaths in 2021.
The Diabetes Atlas, published by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), shows the latest diabetes statistics. The publication provides detailed information on the estimated and projected prevalence of diabetes, globally, by region, country, and territory, for 2021, 2030, and 2045.
Physicians at the Buckhead Clinic have expertise in the management of diabetes. If you test positive for diabetes, our doctors will help you control the disease. They will help you maintain good health.