Understanding Type 2 Diabetes: The Symptoms, Signs & Causes - Women's Health UK

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A new report from Diabetes UK has revealed that the number of people living with diabetes has doubled in the last 20 years, making it the ‘fastest growing health crisis of our time’.

Almost 3.7 million people have been diagnosed with the condition in the UK, which is a rise of a huge 1.9 million since 1998.

The report also found 12.3 million people are now at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity.

So what exactly is type 2 diabetes? It affects around 2.9 million people in the UK, so WH thought we’d help you understand the main signs of type 2 diabetes.

If you’re concerned that you may also be suffering with blood sugar issues, read on for our guide to the the signs of type 2diabetes, as well as the causes and ways you can prevent it.


We’ve covered the symptoms of diabetes. But what actually is it?

Diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes blood sugar levels to become too high. Type 2 diabetes occurs when either the pancreas doesn’t secrete enough insulin or the body is unable to recognise insulin and use it properly (known as insulin resistance). This means that glucose (sugar) can’t get into the body’s cells and the cells can’t function properly.

Hence if you suffer with symptoms of diabetes missing a meal or eating too many squares of Galaxy can have serious consequences.

If left untreated diabetes can cause serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, damaged vision and kidney disease. Sounds pretty grim, right? Well the good news is that it is possible to delay or even reverse type 2 diabetes with an active lifestyle and healthy food choices – keep reading for more info.


If you are over 40 years old or have a relative with type 2 diabetes, then you may be at risk for developing the condition yourself. Other risk factors include being of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern origin.

Being overweight or obese, having high blood pressure and a diet high in fat can all increase your risk for type 2 diabetes.

So will a sedentary lifestyle and high alcohol intake.


Many people with type 2  have no obvious symptoms of diabetes. Not only that, symptoms can come on gradually.

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Feeling very thirsty
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling very tired or weak
  • Unexplained weight loss

Less common symptoms include…

  • Recurrent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cramps
  • Constipation


If you or a friend has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, avoid freaking out – it’s actually pretty manageable.

The most important change someone with diabetes could make is to start exercising regularly, eating healthily and losing weight (if necessary).

But whatever your weight, the truth is we could all benefit from eating more healthy snacks, less refined sugar and finding the right work out.

Medicine and insulin injections may also be necessary to control blood glucose levels.

Still not sure on the symptoms of diabetes? Read our guide, or ditch the processed foods and check the best healthy food you should be trying this year.