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Symptoms and Causes

Some people who have type 2 diabetes exhibit no symptoms. Symptoms may be mild and almost unnoticeable, or easy to confuse with signs of aging. Half of all Americans who have diabetes do not know it.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Some of the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes are frequent bladder and skin infections that don't heal easily, high levels of sugar in the blood and urine, unusual thirst, weight loss despite an increase in appetite, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, weakness and fatigue, Irritability and mood changes, dry, itchy skin, tingling or loss of feeling in the hands or feet

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is commonly preceded by prediabetes. In prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Prediabetes also increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, people with prediabetes can delay or prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Age - People age 45 or older are at higher risk for diabetes.
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight and/or not exercising regularly
  • Race and ethnicity. Being a member of certain racial and ethnic groups increases the risk for type 2 diabetes. African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians are more prone to develop type 2 diabetes than white Americans. 
  • Pregnancy and/or history of gestational diabetes, or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • A low level HDL (high-density lipoprotein--the "good cholesterol")
  • A high triglyceride level

Consult your doctor if you are concerned about developing type 2 diabetes, and be sure to manage your health records and wear identification to assist treatment in a medical situation.

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