Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much sugar then remains in your bloodstream, and not enough reaches your cells.
The fantastic news is that you can take steps to block or delay the development of type 2 diabetes.
Who is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes?
You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You’re more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight or obese. Diabetes is more common in Individuals who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
Physical inactivity and particular health problems like high blood pressure affect your odds of developing type 2 diabetes. You’re also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Symptoms of diabetes include
Numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
sores that do not heal
unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly–over the course of many years–and can be so mild that you may not even notice them. Many individuals don’t have any symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health issues, such as blurred vision or cardiovascular disease.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
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Overweight and obesity
How do health care professionals diagnose type 2 diabetes?
Your health care professional can diagnose type 2 diabetes based on blood tests. Learn more about blood tests for diabetes and what the results mean.
How do I handle my type 2 diabetes?
Managing your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and quitting smoking if you smoke, are important ways to manage your type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes that include planning healthy meals, limiting calories if you are overweight, and being physically active are also part of managing your diabetes. So is taking any prescribed drugs. Work with your healthcare team to create a diabetes care plan that works for you.
What medicines do I need to take care of my type 2 diabetes?
Together with following your diabetes care plan, you may need diabetes medicines, which might consist of drugs or pills you inject under your skin, like insulin. Over time, you might need more than 1 diabetes medicine to manage your blood glucose. Even if you don’t take insulin, you might need it at particular times, like during pregnancy or if you’re in the hospital. You also may need medicines for hypertension, high cholesterol, or other conditions.
Learn more about medicines, insulin, and other diabetes treatments.
Following a fantastic diabetes care plan can help protect against many diabetes-related health issues. However, if not managed, diabetes can lead to problems like
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gum disease and other dental problems
Sexual and bladder Issues
Many people with type 2 diabetes have also nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Losing weight if you are overweight or obese can improve NAFLD. Diabetes is also linked to other health problems such as sleep apnea, depression, some types of cancer, and dementia .
You can take steps to lower your likelihood of developing these diabetes-related health problems.
How can I decrease my chances of developing type 2 diabetes?
Research like the Diabetes Prevention Program , sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, has shown that you can take action to reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes if you have risk factors for the disease. Here are some things you can do to lower your risk:
Shed weight if you’re overweight, and keep it off. You might be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your current weight.1 for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to drop about 10 to 14 pounds.
Move more. Get at least 30 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, at least 5 days per week. When you haven’t been active, speak to your health care professional about which activities are best. Start slowly and build up to your goal.
Eat healthful foods. Eat smaller portions to minimize the number of calories you consume each day and help you lose weight. Choosing foods with less fat is another way to reduce calories. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages.
Ask your health care team what other changes you can make to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.
Most often, your best chance for preventing type 2 diabetes is to make lifestyle changes that work for you long term. Get started with Your Game Plan to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes.