Diabetes Type 2
What is Diabetes Type 2?
Diabetes Type 2, also known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic metabolic disorder that occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin or does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. It is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for about 90% of all cases.
Who's at risk for Diabetes Type 2?
Diabetes Type 2 can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in adults over the age of 45, as well as in people who have a family history of the condition, are overweight or obese, have high blood pressure or cholesterol levels, or lead a sedentary lifestyle.
What causes Diabetes Type 2?
The exact cause of Diabetes Type 2 is not known, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Certain genes may make a person more susceptible to the condition, and environmental factors, such as obesity and lack of physical activity, can trigger the development of insulin resistance.
How does Diabetes Type 2 start?
Diabetes Type 2 may start gradually over months or years, and many people with the condition may not experience any symptoms in the early stages. As the condition progresses, symptoms such as increased thirst and urination, fatigue, blurred vision, and slow wound healing may occur.
What are the symptoms of Diabetes Type 2?
The symptoms of Diabetes Type 2 may include:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Fatigue and weakness
- Blurred vision
- Slow wound healing
- Frequent infections, such as urinary tract infections and yeast infections
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Dry mouth and skin
- Itchy skin
How is Diabetes Type 2 diagnosed?
Diagnosing Diabetes Type 2 involves a combination of blood tests and symptoms evaluation. A healthcare provider may measure the levels of glucose and hemoglobin A1c (a marker of long-term blood sugar control) in the blood. A diagnosis of Diabetes Type 2 is usually confirmed if the person has high blood sugar levels and/or hemoglobin A1c levels.
How can Diabetes Type 2 be treated?
Diabetes Type 2 is typically treated with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications. Lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet and exercise plan, losing weight if overweight or obese, and quitting smoking, can help improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of complications. Medications, such as metformin, sulfonylureas, and insulin, may be prescribed to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
What complications may occur with Diabetes Type 2?
If left untreated or poorly managed, Diabetes Type 2 can lead to a range of complications, including:
- Cardiovascular disease, such as heart attack and stroke
- Nerve damage (neuropathy) and circulation problems that can lead to foot ulcers, infections, and amputations
- Eye damage (retinopathy) that can cause vision loss or blindness
- Kidney damage (nephropathy) that can lead to kidney failure
- Skin conditions, such as bacterial and fungal infections and itching
- Dental problems, such as gum disease and tooth loss
How can I prevent Diabetes Type 2?
Preventing Diabetes Type 2 involves making healthy lifestyle choices, such as:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Following a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein
- Exercising regularly, aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week
- Avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption
- Managing stress and getting enough sleep
Long-term management of Diabetes Type 2
Managing Diabetes Type 2 over the long term involves ongoing monitoring of blood sugar levels, regular healthcare provider visits, and adherence to a treatment plan. A person with Diabetes Type 2 may need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly, follow a healthy diet and exercise plan, and take medications as prescribed by their healthcare provider. They may also need to manage other health conditions that may be associated with the condition, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
What is recent research saying about Diabetes Type 2?
Recent research in Diabetes Type 2 has focused on developing new treatments and therapies to improve blood sugar control and prevent complications. Some of the promising areas of research include:
- Bariatric surgery, which involves reducing the size of the stomach and/or rerouting the digestive system to promote weight loss and improve blood sugar control
- SGLT2 inhibitors, a class of medications that works by blocking the reabsorption of glucose in the kidneys and promoting its excretion in the urine
- GLP-1 receptor agonists, a class of medications that works by stimulating the production of insulin and reducing the production of glucagon, a hormone that raises blood sugar levels
- Artificial pancreas systems, which combine insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors to automatically regulate blood sugar levels
Where can I go for more information on Diabetes Type 2?
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2, it is important to seek help from a healthcare provider who specializes in the treatment of the condition. The following organizations also provide information and resources on Diabetes Type 2: