The Epidemic of Our Age: Type 2 Diabetes

Murat Balanlı, MD
23 December 2022

Today, type 2 diabetes has become an epidemic. It is estimated that more than 500 million adults worldwide suffer from diabetes. And this number is increasing day by day. But pre-diabetes (hidden diabetes) is a much more common problem than full-blown diabetes. It occurs when blood sugar starts to rise and indicates that the amount of insulin produced cannot manage blood sugar levels. If no action is taken, this leads to type 2 diabetes. And unfortunately, many people do not even realise they have pre-diabetes.

Timely diagnosis of pre-diabetes is important because organ damage occurs in approximately 20 percent of people diagnosed with diabetes. At the same time, various health problems such as visual impairment and risk of heart attack occur.

The disease is no longer limited to middle-aged and older adults; children and young people are increasingly being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Their risk of developing many other chronic diseases during their lifetime also increases significantly. This is because diabetes is a metabolic disease and affects the whole body negatively.

What are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

It may include one or more of the following:

  • Thirst, dry mouth and frequent urination
  • Tingling or burning sensation in the feet, legs, hands or other parts of the body
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Sudden feeling of hunger
  • Sudden attacks of anger and rage
  • Increase in body weight
  • Frequent or recurrent infections (urinary tract infections, fungal infections)
  • Slow healing of cuts and wounds

What are the Possible Complications of Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Diabetic nephropathy (permanent kidney damage)
  • Retinopathy (eye damage)
  • Diabetic foot
  • Skin diseases
  • Hearing impairment
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Depression

Are You at Risk?

There are a number of known risk factors for both pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. If you have one or more of the following risk factors, you should consult a specialist immediately:

  • Being overweight or obese (BMI 25 or higher)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history of diabetes (especially first-degree relatives)
  • Low HDL or good cholesterol (less than 35 mg/dl or 0.9 mmol/l) and high triglycerides (more than 250 mg/dl)
  • High blood pressure (sustained 140/90 mmHG or higher)
  • History of cardiovascular disease
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Giving birth to a baby weighing more than 4 kg
  • Previous haemoglobin A1c test result of 5.7 or higher

What are the Precautions to be Taken?

Changing nutrition and lifestyle habits is the most important step to be taken in the treatment of diabetes. With the changes being made, the development and progression of diabetes can be stopped or even reversed.

Nutrition and lifestyle changes include:

  • Personalised nutrition plan
  • Being active
  • Losing weight
  • Avoiding long periods of inactivity
  • Getting enough sleep
  • To apply stress management techniques
Page content is for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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