More of us are suffering from the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes than ever before.
In fact, type 2 diabetes is now one of the most common metabolic disorders in America – in 2014, experts estimated that 29.1 million Americans suffered from this blood sugar condition, and the number has only continued to grow (1).
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a blood sugar imbalance that occurs when your body stops responding to the hormone insulin.
Normally, your body releases insulin to remove sugar from your bloodstream and transport it to your cells, where the sugar is either used for immediate energy or stored to be converted back to energy later on (2).
Imagine insulin as a delivery driver, sugar as a package and your cells as the house that receives the packages.
When sugar enters your bloodstream, your body tells insulin to “pick up” sugar from your bloodstream, and deliver it to the house it’s going to (which is your liver, muscle, or fat cells) (3).
Now, type 2 diabetes occurs when your cells become resistant, or stop responding, to insulin. It’s like the delivery man trying to drop off the packages, but no one’s home to to sign for them and bring them inside.
Why Do Your Cells Stop Responding to Sugar?
Your cells stop responding to insulin when your body is unable to keep up with the amount of sugar that enters your bloodstream. This happens when you over consume foods that are high in sugar, especially processed carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, soda, and baked goods.
Since processed sugar contains no fiber to slow down the release of sugar into your bloodstream, it rapidly floods your body with an unnatural amount of sugar all at once. That forces your body to work overtime to produce enough insulin to keep up with the sugar that’s entering your body.
To continue with the delivery driver analogy, when your body becomes resistant to insulin, it’s the equivalent of being delivered hundreds of the same package every single day.
Only, your house becomes so crowded with packages that you can’t possibly receive anymore. So, you stop answering the door for the delivery men (insulin), and the packages (sugar) accumulate outside your front door (your bloodstream).
Now, when sugar begins to accumulate in your bloodstream, you begin to experience serious symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Let’s take a look at what these unmistakable signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes are.
7 Unmistakable Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
1. Frequent Urination
When your blood sugar levels rise and your cells aren’t responding, your body knows the sugar must be dealt with somehow.
So your body turns to plan B, which is to pull fluid from your cells into your bloodstream and deliver the sugar to your kidneys. And when your kidneys receive more fluid, your body produces more urine.
2. Unquenchable Thirst
Unquenchable thirst goes hand-in-hand with frequent urination.
Additionally, your body can’t properly reabsorb water when you have an excessive amount of sugar in your blood. This results in symptoms of dehydration, such as cotton mouth and dry lips.
3. Excessive Hunger
In addition to excessive thirst, excessive hunger is another sign of type 2 diabetes. This is because your body thinks you’re starving when sugar stops entering your cells.
Now, glucose (sugar) is the fuel your brain needs to function. And since glucose must enter your cells before it can be used by your brain, your brain doesn’t receive the message that there’s already plenty of sugar in your body. Therefore, your body will send hunger signals which results in an insatiable appetite.
4. Tingling and Numbness in Your Legs and Feet
Consistently high blood sugar levels can damage the nerves throughout your body.
Nerve damage results in tingling and numbness, or a condition called diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic neuropathy specifically damages the nerves in the legs and feet.
5. Bruising and Slow Wound Healing
High blood sugar levels can cause your arteries and blood vessels to stiffen.
This makes it difficult for your body to deliver oxygen and nutrients through your bloodstream that help wounds heal. Therefore, your body takes much longer to repair skin damage from wounds and bruises.
6. Blurred Vision
High blood sugar levels can cause the lense of your eye to swell, which impairs vision.
Over time, blurred vision may result in diabetic retinopathy, which is the leading cause of blindness in North America (4).
7. Sugar in Your Blood After Fasting
The most common way to test blood sugar levels is the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), which measures the amount of sugar in your blood after fasting for 8 hours.
If the OGTT test measures between 140-200 milligrams per deciliter of sugar in your blood, you’re considered pre-diabetic. Levels of 200 milligrams or higher is diagnosed as diabetic (5).
Don’t Ignore the Signs
As you can see, the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes can cause serious damage to your health and greatly reduce your overall quality of life. Luckily, there’s good news when it comes to type 2 diabetes: it’s a completely reversible condition.
Since diabetes is a blood sugar problem, it’s possible to balance blood sugar, increase insulin sensitivity and reverse the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes through diet and exercise.
If you have type 2 diabetes, prediabetes or suspect your blood sugar levels are imbalanced, I encourage you to speak with a qualified holistic healthcare practitioner who can educate you further on how to reverse diabetes naturally.