What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes?
People with type 2 diabetes often appear symptom-free in the early stages. That's the reason that as many as 30% of people with type 2 diabetes are unaware of their disease. When symptoms do appear, they may come on gradually and be very subtle. At the time of diagnoses many people have some of the following symptoms:
- Feeling tired
- Being unusually thirsty
- Passing large volumes of urine, especially during the night
- Having frequent infections
- Having sores that don't heal
- Having blurred eyesight
People with type 2 diabetes often share certain characteristics and related problems. The most common ones are:
A person with type 2 diabetes is usually overweight or obese. One way to determine obesity is to calculate a person's BMI (Body Mass Index), which is a number that is calculated based on a person's weight and height.
- If a child or teen's BMI is greater than the 85 th percentile for their gender and age (meaning that their score is within the top fifteen percent) they are considered overweight.
- If the BMI is greater than the 95th percentile (or within the top five percent) for gender and age, the child or teen is considered obese.
- In terms of their BMI score, an adult with a BMI higher than 25 is overweight and an adult with a BMI higher than 30 is obese.
The Centers for Disease Control has BMI charts to help you.
Insulin resistance – which is associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes - tends to have a negative affect on a person's lipid (cholesterol) levels. If untreated over several years, high "bad" cholesterol and low "good" cholesterol increase the risk for cardiovascular (heart) problems. For a person less than 20 years of age, the desired fasting lipid levels are:
- LDL (bad) cholesterol should normally be less than 130 mg/dL.
If someone has diabetes, the LDL cholesterol should be less than 100 mg/dL because their cardiovascular disease risk is greater.
- HDL (good) cholesterol should be higher than 45 mg/dL
- Triglycerides should be less than 200 mg/dL
- Total cholesterol should be less than 200 mg/dL
(Source: National Heart Lung and Blood Institute)
- Blood Pressure
For children and teens, there are tables that give normal blood pressure by age, height and gender. In general, a teen with a blood pressure greater than 130/80 has high blood pressure.
- Dark velvety skin
Some people with type 2 diabetes, especially African Americans and Latinos, develop a skin rash that looks like dirty skin with a smooth and raised surface (much like velvet fabric) that usually appears on their neck, arm pit or groin. This is called acanthosis nigricans and while it's one of the early signs of insulin resistance, it can get better with weight loss and treatment that lowers insulin resistance.
- Abnormal menstrual periods, increased hair and acne
Some women with type 2 diabetes experience problems with their ovaries which causes abnormal hormonal activity. The ovaries are the glands that contain the eggs and produce female hormones responsible for female sexual characteristics. When the ovaries don't work properly, a woman can have irregular or infrequent menstrual periods, increased body hair and acne. This condition is called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). With proper treatment, PCOS can be improved.
What Makes Type 2 Diabetes Different In Children And Youth Compared To Adults?
Youth with type 2 diabetes most often have a strong family history of diabetes. Practically all young people diagnosed with type 2 will have at least a close relative with diabetes and up to 45-80% will have a parent with the disease.
Children are at greater risk if their mothers had poorly controlled diabetes while pregnant with them. In fact, when mothers have diabetes, they increase the risk that their child will have diabetes at any point throughout their child's lifetime even when they become adults.
Girls are 1.7 times more likely than boys to be affected. This may be due to factors associated with increased insulin resistance in girls with polycystic ovary syndrome. This is also true for adult women with polycystic ovary syndrome.
In addition, puberty has been identified as an important factor in the development of type 2 diabetes in children. Changes in hormone levels during this time cause insulin resistance and decreased insulin action – two of the factors that contribute to the development of type 2diabetes. In children, type 2 diabetes most often occurs during mid-puberty, even though cases as young as 4 years of age have been reported.
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Last Updated: Saturday April 20, 2013 13:31:34
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