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What is type 2 diabetes and what are the symptoms?

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Diabetes Awareness Week - 11th - 17th June

With symptoms which can often be disguised as the struggles of day-to-day life; type 2 diabetes can often go unrecognised and therefore untreated. The current estimate for people aged 16 and over in England with diabetes is at 3.8 million and is projected to rise to 4.9 million by 2035. With no current cure, as well as 90% of diabetes cases being type 2 diabetes, and the increased risk of further health complications, the importance of diabetes awareness is paramount.  

What is type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition which is caused by problems with the insulin chemical in the body. The insulin hormone manages the blood glucose levels and those suffering from type 2 diabetes have an excess of glucose in the blood, meaning that their sugar levels are too high, due to the ineffectiveness of this hormone.

Type 2 diabetes can be identified by attending an appointment with a GP and is often diagnosed using blood or urine tests. It is not uncommon that this diagnosis is detected whilst being tested for something else, due to the discreet nature of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.  

The current NHS guidance is to see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and/or are worried that you are of a higher risk for this condition. An early diagnosis is key to minimising the risk of further health conditions and complications.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Typically, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes include the following:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Delayed wound healing (cuts or wounds taking longer than usual to heal)

Who is most likely to be at risk of type 2 diabetes?

You could be at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes if you:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
  • Are over the age of 40
  • Are of an Asian, African-Caribbean, or Black African origin
  • Suffered with gestational diabetes during a pregnancy.

Mitigating and managing type 2 diabetes

After diagnosis, it is not uncommon that type 2 diabetes would be managed with medication which would be regularly reviewed and possibly amended by a doctor.

It is ordinary that a person diagnosed with type 2 diabetes would be required to attend three-monthly blood sugar checks and 12 monthly feet, eye, blood pressure, cholesterol, and kidney checks.

Diet and lifestyle changes are also implemented to manage the blood sugar levels of a person diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and the current NHS advice is to aim to achieve 2.5 hours of physical activity per week.

Other high risk health conditions which type 2 diabetes can cause

Type 2 diabetes can also lead to further health conditions such as:

  • Heart disease and strokes
  • Vision loss and blindness
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney disease
  • Miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Foot problems such as infections or wounds.

Type 2 diabetes can reduce the blood flow to the feet, causing further complications and resulting in around 175 amputations caused by diabetes every week in England.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to the negligence of a medical or health professional, including injury due to the delayed diagnosis of diabetes, then we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation. Our leading team of experts are on hand to offer advice, so please get in touch with us on 0161 696 6165 or complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you directly.

By Abigail Worden, new business advisor