Diabetes symptoms: ‘Spare tyre’ weight gain around abdomen could signal high blood sugar

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes means your pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the insulin it does produce is not taken up by the cells. The primary role of insulin is to regulate blood sugar – the main type of sugar found in blood. A shortage of insulin therefore gives rise to unregulated blood sugar levels.

Blood sugar levels tend to rise without regulation and consistently high blood sugar levels can cause a number of serious complications.

Spotting the warning signs of high blood sugar can indicate you’re at risk of diabetes or you have it.

According to Nutritionist and Fitness Instructor Cassandra Barns, there are a number of perceptible changes that can indicate high blood sugar.

“It’s important to say that none of these individual signs mean you definitely have high blood sugar, but they are indications that it’s worth seeing your doctor, who will run some tests if necessary,” explained Ms Barns.

One red flag is weight gain that resembles a “spare tyre”, warned the nutritionist.

She explained: “Weight gain around the abdomen is an indication that your blood sugar levels could be high and is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.”

Another telltale sign of high blood sugar is feeling tired, said Ms Barnes.

“Of course, feeling tired can have many causes. But it can be an indication that your body is not efficiently taking glucose (sugar) into your cells to use for energy, meaning your blood sugar stays high.”

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Other signs include:

  • Feeling unusually thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry – even if you’ve just eaten
  • Thrush.

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 started, the better.

“Early treatment reduces your risk of other health problems.”

How to lower high blood sugar

The Mayo Clinic explains: “If you have diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely recommend that you see a dietitian to help you develop a healthy-eating plan.”

The key is to separate good carb from bad carb, says the health body.

“During digestion, sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates) break down into blood glucose.”

Focus on healthy carbohydrates, such as:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes, such as beans and peas
  • Low-fat dairy products, such as milk and cheese.

According to the NHS, physical exercise helps lower your blood sugar level. You should aim for 2.5 hours of activity a week.

“You can be active anywhere as long as what you’re doing gets you out of breath,” says the health body.

This could be:

  • Fast walking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Doing more strenuous housework or gardening.

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