Type 2 diabetes is a growing health risk. Diabetes UK reports the number of people diagnosed with the condition has doubled in the past 20 years. To find out whether you fall into this category, count how many times per day you’re going into the kitchen to grab a certain something.
Continuously trying to quench a thirst that just doesn’t ever feel satisfied is one early indicator of type 2 diabetes.
Medically termed polydipsia, it describes the sensation of feeling thirsty all the time.
Now, don’t mistake everyday thirst for polydipsia if you truly aren’t drinking enough fluids.
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The NHS recommends people to drink about 1.2 litres (six to eight glasses) of fluids every day – and this amount is specific to the UK weather.
Fluids can include water, sugar-free tea and coffee, and low-fat milk. For those who are trying to drink more water, but aren’t too keen on the taste, you can try sparkling water or add a slice of lemon or lime.
The NHS adds: “Water is a healthy and cheap choice for quenching your thirst at any time. It has no calories and contains no sugars that can damage teeth.”
It’s normal to feel thirsty if you’re doing exercises that are making you sweat loads, and it’s also completely normal to feel more thirsty when you’ve eaten something very salty or spicy.
But, if you’re heading to the kitchen more than eight times to fill a glass of water, for example, and you’re still feeling dehydrated then it’s clear something is amiss.
Type 2 diabetes is a result of abnormal levels of sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream. When the health condition isn’t being managed adequately – or if the sufferer is currently unaware they’ve got it – this can lead to the sensation of feeling parched all the time.
The kidneys respond to too much sugar in the blood by creating more urine to help pass the extra sugar from the body.
This will likely cause a need to urinate more often, meaning more water is used up from the body (and even pulled from tissues) to help get rid of the extra sugar.
Consequently, as more water is drawn out of the body to try to remove the extra sugar, feelings of thirstiness increases – which can be an annoying cycle to endure.
The NHS names excess thirst and urination as two symptoms of type 2 diabetes. Others include:
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
As diabetes is a progressive condition, at first, it can be well managed by a strict diet and regular exercise.
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However, as time goes on, it’s more likely medication would be needed to influence insulin levels.
This is because type 2 diabetes happens when either the body becomes insulin resistant – meaning your body ignores the insulin hormone – or your body is unable to make enough of the hormone in the first place.
What’s so special about insulin and why do we need it?
Insulin is a hormone usually made from the pancreas inside of the body.
When functioning properly, insulin is a hormone that carries sugar (glucose) that’s been broken down by the foods you eat into the cells.
Cells needs sugar (glucose) so that it can be burned for energy – and is the power source for everything the cells does.
Without insulin working well, sugar (glucose) can’t be transported to the cells and instead start to build up in the bloodstream.
This is when a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can be made by a healthcare professional with either a blood test or urine sample.
Blood tests results usually take up to two days, and the doctor may go on to explain how best to manage the condition should you have it.
The doctor may also prescribe medication, as well as offer lifestyle advice and arrange for regular check-ups.
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