TYPE 2 diabetes symptoms can be difficult to spot but if the condition is left untreated it can result in complications such as cardiovascular disease and kidney damage. One of the signs to look out for is unexplained weight loss, but how much weight loss is deemed worrying?
Type 2 diabetes is a common condition in the UK where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin. Insulin regulates how the body uses and stores glucose and fat. It helps the body’s cells takes glucose from the blood which it then turns into energy.
Alongside being overweight or obese, having a close family member with the condition can be one of the causes.
Many people with type 2 diabetes don’t realise they have it because symptoms don’t necessarily make you feel unwell. But if it’s left untreated, it can lead to serious complications.
One of the warning signs to look out for is unexplained weight loss, but how much weight loss signals a problem?
Once you reach middle adulthood, your weight should remain relatively stable from year to year.
While losing or gaining a few pounds here and there is normal, a significant amount of unexplained weight loss or persistent weight loss should be cause for concern.
Unexplained weight loss is weight loss that occurs without dieting or exercising.
The diabetes expert explains: “In people with diabetes, insufficient insulin prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood into the body’s cells to use as energy.
“When this occurs, the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy, causing a reduction in overall body weight.
“Unexpected weight loss if often noticed in people prior to a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes but it may also affect people with type 2 diabetes.
“If you have unintentionally lost more than 5 per cent of your normal body weight, or more than 10 lbs (4.5kg) in six to 12 months or less, you should consult your doctor.”
Unexplained weight loss isn’t just a sign of diabetes. It can also indicate other health conditions such as cancer, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.
Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes, according to the NHS, can include:
- Peeing more than usual, particularly at night
- Feeling thirsty all the time
- Feeling very tired
- Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
- Cut or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
People with the condition are recommended to make changes to their diet, such as counting the amount of carbohydrates they eat and keeping an eye on portion sizes.
Choosing foods with unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat, eating less salt, and avoiding fatty or processed meat is recommended.