The causes of type 2 diabetes are complex and its development cannot be explained by any single risk factor. Advancing age, obesity, physical inactivity, certain ethnicities, and a family history of diabetes (or gestational diabetes in women) are all important risk factors.

Diabetes has been called the silent killer. It can and does destroy the major organs in your body and if left untreated, it will kill you. More startling than that, millions of people are living with diabetes and they don’t even know it.

The Top 10 Symptoms of Diabetes

People with diabetes frequently experience certain symptoms including:

  • being very thirsty
  • frequent urination
  • weight loss
  • increased hunger
  • blurry vision
  • irritability
  • tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • frequent skin, bladder or gum infections
  • wounds that don’t heal
  • extreme unexplained fatigue

In some cases, there are no symptoms — this happens at times with type 2 diabetes. In this case, people can live for months, even years without knowing they have the disease. This form of diabetes comes on so gradually that symptoms may not even be recognized.

If you have any of symptoms listed above, it is important to tell your doctor about it as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have symptoms, and you are 40 or older, you should still get checked.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), a major federally funded study of 3,234 people at high risk for diabetes, showed that people can delay and possibly prevent the disease by losing a small amount of weight (5 to 7 percent of total body weight) through 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week and healthier eating.

For more information, see the:

National Diabetes Education Program’s Small Steps. Big Rewards. Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Campaign

Canadian Diabetes Association

Diabetes in Canada: Facts and figures from a public health perspective