Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects the way the body processes sugar. It's the most common form of diabetes, and according to the International Diabetes Federation, there are currently over 26 million people living with type 2 diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa region. In UAE specifically, it's estimated that one in five of the population has diabetes.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body either doesn't produce enough insulin or it doesn't respond properly to the insulin that it does produce. This can cause sugar to build up in your blood, which can lead to a number of serious complications if left untreated. That's why it's so important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes and to get checked by a doctor if you think you may be at risk.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can develop gradually, which is why many people with the condition don't even know they have it. However, there are some key warning signs that you should be aware of, including:
- Feeling very thirsty all the time
- Frequent urination
- Feeling tired all the time
- Blurry vision
- Slow healing cuts and wounds
- Nausea or vomiting (in severe cases)
If you experience any of these symptoms, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible for a blood test.
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
While anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, some categories of people are at greater risk than others. Some of the factors that can increase your risk, including:
- Family history - if your parents or grandparents had diabetes, you're more likely to develop it yourself.
- Obesity - carrying excess weight, especially around your waistline, can increase your risk.
- Physical inactivity - people who are inactive have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Age - type 2 diabetes is more common in adults over the age 40, although it is now being seen in younger adults and children as well.
- Smoking - smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop type 2 diabetes.
- High blood pressure - having high blood pressure puts you at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Cholesterol and other fats in your blood - having too much fat in your blood can damage your arteries and lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Certain ethnic groups - South Asians, Arabs, Africans and Latinos/Hispanics have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than other groups. This may be due to genetic factors as well lifestyle factors such as diet and obesity levels.
- Women who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy also have an increased risk.
- Having prediabetes - this is when your blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as diabetes. If you have prediabetes, you're at increased risk of developing full-blown type 2 diabetes within 10 years.
- Sleep apnea - this is a sleep disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep. It's been linked with an increased risk of both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - this is a hormone disorder that can affect women of childbearing age; it's been linked with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Certain treatments and conditions - these include taking corticosteroids or having untreated adrenal insufficiency (Addison's disease).
Prevention Is Always Better Than Cure
This is especially true when it comes to chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. While there is currently no cure for type 2 diabetes, there are many things that you can do to prevent its onset. Here are 5 tips for taking control of your diabetes prevention journey:
1. Eat a healthy diet
One of the most important things that you can do to prevent type 2 diabetes is to eat a healthy diet. What you eat has a direct impact on your blood sugar levels, so it’s important to focus on eating foods that will help keep your blood sugar levels in check. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein are all great options for people looking to prevent type 2 diabetes.
2. Get regular exercise
Exercise is another important factor in type 2 diabetes prevention. When you exercise, your body becomes more sensitive to insulin, which helps keep your blood sugar levels in check. Getting regular exercise can also help you lose weight, which is another important factor in preventing type 2 diabetes.
3. Monitor your blood sugar levels
If you have risk factors for type 2 diabetes, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely. You can talk to your doctor about getting a fasting blood sugar test or an A1C test, which will give you an idea of your average blood sugar level over the past few months. If your results are high, it’s important to take steps to bring them down through lifestyle changes and/or medication.
4. Quit smoking
Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes, so quitting smoking is one of the best things that you can do for your diabetes prevention journey. If you’re struggling to quit smoking on your own, there are many resources available to help you, including nicotine replacement therapy and counseling.
5. Manage stress levels
Another important factor in diabetes prevention is managing stress levels. Stress can cause hormone imbalances and lead to weight gain, both of which increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. If you’re struggling to manage stress on your own, there are many resources available to help you, including counseling and meditation.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious chronic disease that can have a major impact on your health if not managed properly. However, the good news is that type 2 diabetes is preventable! By making lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, monitoring your blood sugar levels, quitting smoking, and managing stress levels, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing this disease. So, what are you waiting for? Start taking steps today to take control of your health.