Previously known as adult-onset diabetes, the prevalence of this chronic condition is steadily on the rise. An increase of Type 2 Diabetes has even been seen in children, correlated to the increase in childhood obesity. Type 2 diabetes affects how the body handles glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream, by either resisting to the effects of insulin, or not producing enough insulin to maintain a steady, normal glucose level. The following are symptoms that can lead to the diagnosis of this condition.

An increase in hunger, thirst and frequent urination can be warning signs of Type 2 Diabetes. An excess in glucose in the blood causes fluid to be sucked out of body tissues, leaving the affected individual thirsty and having to urinate on a more frequent basis. And not enough insulin to move glucose into the body’s cells for fuel purposes causes muscles and organs to be in need of energy. This lack of energy in the cells can in turn set off a powerful sense of hunger.

Surprisingly, the increase in hunger does not lead to weight gain, but rather, sufferers of Type 2 Diabetes may see unexpected weight loss. Since the body is not able to use glucose found in the bloodstream, it is forced to use substitutes for fuel that are stored in body fat and muscle. Excess glucose is thrown away by the body in the form of urine, which in other words means calories are needlessly lost. Body cells that are deprived of glucose can also lead to fatigue in the affected individual, making them tired, short-tempered and irritable.

Blurred vision can be yet another symptom of Type 2 Diabetes. A high level of glucose in the sugar, gone unregulated by its resistance to insulin, can cause fluid to be drawn from the lenses in the individual’s eyes. This extraction of fluid can affect the ability to see and focus clearly. Gone unchecked, Type 2 Diabetes can eventually lead to blindness.

Sores and infections may be slow to heal in individuals affected by Type 2 Diabetes. The body’s ability to resist infections can also be hindered by the incapability to absorb the much needed energy found in sugar in the bloodstream.

Finally, some people with Type 2 diabetes may see patches of dark skin that is also velvety in texture, usually found in the creases and folds all over the body – particularly in the areas of the neck, groin and armpits. Changes to the skin can appear slowly, sometimes taking over months or years to become increasingly visible. This condition is called acanthosis nigricans, and can prove to be a sign of resistance to insulin, which can eventually lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, make sure to pay your doctor a visit and confirm a diagnosis. Left untreated, Type 2 Diabetes can prove to be life-threatening. While there is no cure, the condition can be handled with a proper diet, exercise routine and a healthy weight. If these lifestyle changes are not enough to see an improvement in symptoms, you may need to consider other options such as insulin therapy and diabetes medications.