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There are a lot of symptoms involved with type 2 diabetes, some of which may be mistaken for something else. Our experts look at what you need to look out for, and answer some other common questions about this widespread condition.

How do you know if you have type 2 diabetes?

Dr Partha Kar

Type 2 diabetes is not easy to diagnose in oneself. In most cases, the diagnosis is made incidentally when you visit to your health care professional for routine health check or any other related issues. However, in some cases, symptoms such as tiredness, passing more water, thirst or losing weight, may be present. If you do have any of these symptoms, it is important that you do see a health care professional to have yourself checked out for type 2 diabetes.

How do you get tested for type 2 diabetes?

Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of

We use to need two blood tests a couple of hours apart. You will have a fasting blood test when you haven’t eaten for at least 8 hours. Then you drink a set amount of a sugary drink, and then we check your blood sugar, 2 hours later. These days, however, we tend to use something called HbA1C which is a single blood test which gives an average of what your blood sugar has been over the last three months.

If you have one HbA1C that it suggests you may have diabetes, you’ll need to have to repeat it to conform that you actually do have it. However, if you are pregnant, you still need to have old fashioned glucose tolerance test. Fasting sugar, drink the sugary drink, glucose test 2 hours later.

Who is most at risk from type 2 diabetes?

Dr Partha Kar

Individuals who are most at risk of developing type 2 diabetes are those with a strong family history, as well as who come from certain ethnic backgrounds, such as south east Asian individuals, or Afro-Caribbean background. Also, what increases your risk is your age. Those who are above the age of 40, do develop a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One of the big factor is your weight which in itself is a high risk in developing type 2 diabetes.

Is type 2 diabetes hereditary?

Dr Partha Kar

A common question always asked is whether type 2 diabetes is hereditary or not. The answer is no but having a strong family history does increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes irrespective of your ethnic background.

How do you explain type 2 diabetes to your child?

Dr Partha Kar

Type 2 diabetes can be sometimes difficult to explain to children. However, an easy way to explain to them that mummy or daddy may need to change some of their lifestyle, some of the food they eat and in occasions they may need tablets or injections to look after themselves.

How does type 2 diabetes affect your weight?

Dr Partha Kar

Type 2 diabetes in the initial phase might present with weight loss. This indeed could be one of the symptoms that prompts you to see your health care professional to make the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. As time progresses, with good self-management of diet and lifestyle, it is possible to maintain a healthy weight throughout the diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.