Short-Term Effects of Type 2 Diabetes
Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Because the effects of type 2 diabetes can span the entire body, people with type 2 diabetes are at higher risk for developing other health conditions, including:
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis
- Unexplained Weight Loss
- Eye Problems
People with type 2 diabetes know the challenge of managing their disease. Through diet and exercise, primary care providers work with patients with type 2 diabetes to reduce the necessity of insulin dependence and reduce the risk of short-term complications.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed, it is important to know that type 2 diabetes increases your risk of developing other significant health issues. We’ll look at the common resulting complications from unmanaged type 2 diabetes and give you some tips for taking charge of your health.
Common Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes (type 2 diabetes mellitus) is a condition that occurs either when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin to remove the glucose from your blood, or when your cells become resistant to insulin.
Either of these impairments often leads to perpetually high blood glucose levels, which can result in type 2 diabetes. In some people, having gestational diabetes or having immediate family members with type 2 diabetes can lead to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
While it’s not completely understood why cells become insulin resistant and why the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin, certain lifestyle factors can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Obesity. A body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 is categorized as obesity, and can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Inactivity. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is also associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes may not have noticeable symptoms, and early diagnosis is important for ensuring the most positive outcomes. Getting a yearly complete metabolic blood panel can help your healthcare provider catch signs earlier.
Short-Term Effects of Type 2 Diabetes
Many health conditions can cause other aspects of your health to decline. Such is the case with type 2 diabetes. If you aren’t aware you have diabetes, or if you aren’t managing your diabetes well, you could be at risk of developing some short-term complications of diabetes.
Hypoglycemia refers to a condition where blood sugar levels drop too low. Hyperglycemia is the opposite of hypoglycemia, and is a condition in which blood sugar levels are too high.
Not taking diabetes medication as directed by a physician may result in hyperglycemia. Symptoms often include frequent urination, blurred vision, increased thirst, and headache.
When your cells don’t take up enough glucose from your blood, they begin to burn fat for fuel instead. This produces ketones in the blood, and too many ketones can lead to an acidic blood condition called ketoacidosis. People with type 1 diabetes are more prone to ketoacidosis, but it can also affect type 2 diabetics.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Most of us don’t complain if we lose a few pounds, but if you’ve begun to lose weight without a significant change in your diet or exercise routine, you could be experiencing weight loss due to diabetes that isn’t properly managed.
Many people with diabetes suffer from eye issues like blurry vision, glaucoma, retinopathy, and cataracts. What’s surprising is how quickly these issues can develop when proper diabetes care isn’t in place. Your healthcare provider and your optometrist can help you avoid eye issues and protect your vision.
Long-Term Effects of Type 2 Diabetes
Unmanaged type 2 diabetes places you at higher risk for long-term effects like high blood pressure (hypertension), cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and heart disease. These can eventually lead to heart attacks and strokes.
In addition to increasing your risk for heart-related issues, you’re more likely to develop kidney damage and kidney disease (nephropathy) that can require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Nerve damage from neuropathy can lead to limb amputation and other long-term complications from type 2 diabetes that are avoidable if you practice better diabetes care.
Staying Healthy With Type 2 Diabetes
You can manage your diabetes-induced high blood sugar with dietary and lifestyle changes.
- A diet with complex carbohydrates, fiber, lean proteins, and fats will help to manage healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- The American Diabetes Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week to avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Start slow and build up to more minutes each week.
For more info on managing health and wellness, explore the rest of the fatty15 blog here!
Eric Venn-Watson M.D.
Senior Scientist, Co-Founder
Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.
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