Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as fuel. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause disorders of the circulatory, nervous and immune systems. It is the most common form of diabetes, and it occurs when the body doesn't use insulin properly. While some people can control their blood sugar levels with a healthy diet and exercise, others may need medication or insulin to control it.
No matter where you are with type 2 diabetes, there are a few things you should know. Learn how type 2 diabetes is diagnosed and what lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk. Understand the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and how it is treated. Finally, find out what social benefits may be available to those with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high.
Glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. A hormone called insulin helps glucose enter cells to give them energy. If you have diabetes, your body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use it well. Glucose stays in the blood and doesn't get enough into the cells. In any case, you have everything you need to fight it.
Exercising regularly and reducing body weight by about 5% could reduce the risk of getting diabetes by more than 50%. You may also be at higher risk if you have had gestational diabetes or prediabetes, two conditions caused by high glucose levels. The recommended diet for people with type 2 diabetes is the same diet that almost everyone should follow. Your family doctor or diabetes nurse will also teach a family member or close friend how to inject insulin correctly. Type 2 diabetes occurs when cells in the body resist the normal effect of insulin, which involves carrying glucose from the blood into cells. This condition is called insulin resistance.
As a result, glucose begins to accumulate in the blood. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to work properly or the body's cells don't react to insulin. This means that glucose stays in the blood and is not used as fuel to generate energy. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly over several years and may be so mild that you may not even notice them. Common symptoms include increased thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, blurred vision, slow healing sores, and frequent infections. If you have type 2 diabetes, your cells don't respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Pregnant women with diabetes usually undergo prenatal check-ups in a hospital or diabetic clinic, ideally with a doctor who specializes in pregnancy care (an obstetrician).
The diabetic eye exam is specific for diabetic retinopathy and cannot be trusted for other conditions. The main groups that may qualify for social benefits are children, the elderly and people with learning disabilities, mental health problems or complications of diabetes. However, even though increasing age is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes, in recent years younger people from all ethnic groups have been developing the disease. If you have type 2 diabetes, you should be invited to have an eye exam once a year to check for diabetic retinopathy. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy is only needed if screening tests detect significant problems that mean your vision is at risk. This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. With knowledge about type 2 diabetes comes power - power to take control of your health and live life on your own terms.