Type 2 diabetes is characterized by a dysfunction in the way the body produces insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas. The main function of insulin is to regulate blood sugar, the main type of sugar found in the blood.
Stripped of this mechanism, blood sugar levels can rise to dangerous levels. When this happens, the body often undergoes noticeable changes.
A telltale sign of high blood sugar is «polydipsia»; the term given to the excessive thirst that is one of the «early» symptoms of diabetes, explains Diabetes.co.uk.
The health body explains: «We all feel thirsty at various times of the day. Adequate daily water intake (several glasses) is very important as water is essential for many bodily functions, including regulating body temperature and eliminating of waste».
«However, if you feel thirsty all the time or your thirst is stronger than normal and continues even after drinking, it may be a sign that all is not well within your body.»
There are many possible causes of excessive thirst, but increased thirst in people with diabetes can sometimes, but certainly not always, be an indication of higher-than-normal blood glucose levels, he says.
The symptoms of polydipsia are recognized as:
- Have persistent and unexplained thirst, regardless of how much you drink
- Pass more than five liters of urine a day.
Other warning signs of high blood sugar include:
- Blurry vision
- unintentional weight loss
- Recurring infections, such as thrush, bladder infections (cystitis), and skin infections
- feeling or being sick
- Fruity smelling breath.
According to the NHS, you should see a specialist doctor if you have any of the symptoms or if you are concerned that you may be at increased risk of type 2 diabetes.
«You will need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health center for if it cannot be done at your GP’s office,» explains the health agency.
The earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment started, the better. As the NHS points out, early treatment reduces the risk of other health problems.
How to lower high blood sugar
Eating a healthy diet and staying active will help you control your blood sugar level.
There’s nothing you can’t eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you’ll need to limit certain foods. The worst offenders are certain types of carbohydrates because they break down into glucose (sugar) in the blood relatively quickly.
The glycemic index (GI) can help you distinguish the good from the bad. The GI is a classification system for foods that contain carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten alone.
Carbohydrate foods that are quickly broken down by the body and cause a rapid rise in blood glucose have a high GI. High GI foods include:
- Sugar and sugary foods
- sugary soft drinks
- White bread
- White rice.
Low or medium GI foods break down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time. They include some fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole foods, such as porridge.
Some low GI foods, such as whole foods, fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils, are foods that we should eat as part of a healthy and balanced diet.