Diabetes type 2 is an insidious disease: by the time you really start to get symptoms, it will be too late. Still, there are a few signs that you can be alert to.
The good news: if you get there on time, you can often turn the tide!
Before you get diabetes, you already have a number of problems in the body. You then suffer from the so-called metabolic syndrome, also known as pre-diabetes. According to the RIVM, as many as a quarter of Dutch women between thirty and seventy years old suffer from the metabolic syndrome. And the older you get, the more likely you are to have it. “After the menopause, women will accumulate more fat in the abdominal cavity, which increases the risk,” says Hanno Pijl, internist and professor of Diabetology at the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC).
You don’t feel most problems
If you have metabolic syndrome or pre-diabetes, you are not officially sick yet, but you can almost betray that if you don’t take action, you will. However, you do not feel many of the symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. “That’s the mean thing about it,” says Hanno Pijl. “This one sneaks in without you realizing it. There are even people who have had type 2 diabetes for years without noticing anything. ”
In addition, you get used to everything. “Most people with pre-diabetes are more tired than others,” says Pijl in practice. “But fatigue is such a vague complaint. Many people blame it on age, menopause or busy job. It is not the case that you suddenly feel tired from one day to the next, something like that happens very gradually. ” And that is why you hardly notice it until it is too late.
The five alarms
Nevertheless, there are a number of signals that you can be alert to. You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of the problems listed below. You can check the first yourself; the other symptoms should be checked by your doctor:
- A big belly (a waist circumference of more than 88 cm, men more than 102 cm)
- High blood pressure (130-85 mm Hg or higher)
- Low HDL cholesterol (less than 1.29 mmol / l, men less than 1.04 mmol / l). The HDL cholesterol is the healthy cholesterol: the more of this you have the better.
- A high blood glucose value (above 6.1 mmol / L, measured on an empty stomach)
- High blood fat level, this is called triglyceride level (above 1.7 mmol / l)
Big belly and diabetes in the family? Get checked
According to internist Hanno Pijl, you should definitely have a check-up if you have a too big stomach and if you also have type 2 diabetes in your immediate family. “Preferably once a year.” But even if you are overweight on your own and you know that you do not eat very healthily and do not exercise much, it is good to know how your health is doing, says the diabetes expert.
Turning the tide
But suppose you are in the early stages of type 2 diabetes, then what? The good news is that, unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes can be prevented by eating healthier and exercising more. “The cheapest and most effective way to prevent yourself from getting really sick is to change your lifestyle,” says the diabetes expert. An additional advantage is that, even though you were not yet ill, you will still feel better. Arrow: “I notice that when people with the metabolic syndrome start to live healthier, they start to feel much more energetic. While at first they didn’t even realize that something was wrong. ”
Not required to go to the gym
But before you take a deep breath, that new lifestyle doesn’t mean going to the gym three times a week. Regular walking is also fine, as long as you stretch your legs regularly. Arrow: “There are even studies that indicate that it is better to get up from your chair more often and walk around for a while than to exercise intensively a few times a week. Sure, all the extra hours in the gym are a bonus. But don’t underestimate the health effect of just getting up more often. We are so programmed to sit, that is really not good. It is not without reason that sitting is called the new smoking. ”
Symptoms of Diabetes
If you go on too long with metabolic syndrome, chances are you will develop type 2 diabetes. The following symptoms can indicate diabetes; both type 1 and type 2. Always see the doctor if you suffer from one or more of the following complaints:
- very thirsty
- frequent urination
- a dry mouth have
- often feeling very tired
- suffer from eye inflammation or blurred vision
Type 2 diabetes, then what?
Has your doctor diagnosed type 2 diabetes? Even then you can do a lot yourself to prevent worse. If you start living a healthier life, it is even possible to get off the medication completely. Make sure you come under the supervision of a diabetes nurse, good specialist or a general practitioner with experience, who can guide you in the right way.