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Diabetes type 2: Dr Zoe Williams discusses high blood sugar risks

Approximately one million people currently have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes in the UK. The prevalence of undiagnosed cases owes in part to the lack of symptoms that accompany the condition in the early stages. It can take years for symptoms to show up but when they do, it can be serious.

The reason for the lag in symptoms is because unstable blood sugar levels – the main complication of type 2 diabetes – gradually encroaches on the body.

High blood sugar levels can impact the body in innumerable ways and some signs may show up when trying to sleep.

As Diabetes.co.uk explains, it could be that the high levels make it less comfortable for you to sleep – it may make you feel too warm or irritable and unsettled.

Another factor is an increased need to go the toilet during the night.

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“For people with regularly high blood sugar levels this can have a pronounced impact on your ability to get a good night’s sleep,” explains Diabetes.co.uk.

What’s more, sleep deprivation may spur on high blood sugar levels.

How? The hormone insulin is usually tasked with regulating blood sugar levels, but people with diabetes tend to have insulin resistance, alternatives to actonel which means the cells do not absorb insulin.

Research has shown that sleep deprivation and insulin resistance may be linked.

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General signs of high blood sugar include:

  • Increased thirst and a dry mouth
  • Needing to pee frequently
  • Tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Recurrent infections, such as thrush, bladder infections (cystitis) and Skin infections
  • Tummy pain
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Breath that smells fruity.

How to respond

According to the NHS, you should see a GP if you have any of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes or you’re worried you may have a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

“You’ll need a blood test, which you may have to go to your local health centre for if it cannot be done at your GP surgery,” explains the health body.

As it points out, the earlier diabetes is diagnosed and treatment is started, the better.

Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.

How to manage the condition

The key to managing type 2 diabetes is to find alternative means of moderating blood sugar levels.

Integral to this effort is to eat a healthy balanced diet and engage in regular exercise.

A common misconception around type 2 diabetes is that you have to follow a strict dietary plan.

This is inaccurate – there’s technically nothing you cannot eat if you have type 2 diabetes, but you must limit your intake of certain carbohydrates.

Carbs are broken down into glucose (blood sugar) relatively fast and therefore have a pronounced impact on blood sugar levels.

The worst offenders are those that rank high on the glycaemic index (GI) – a rating system for foods containing carbs.

It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own.

High GI foods include:

  • Sugar and sugary foods
  • Sugary soft drinks
  • White bread
  • Potatoes
  • White rice.

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