What You Need To Know About Type 2 Diabetes – Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes mellitus, a group of metabolic disorders that cause your blood glucose (sugar) level to be too high because your body cannot properly use energy from the food you eat.
Many of the foods and drinks you consume contain glucose, which your body processes to make energy. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin to help the glucose in your blood enter your muscles, fat and liver to provide energy.
What You Need To Know About Type 2 Diabetes
When the body does not use insulin properly, your pancreas initially makes more insulin to overcome this resistance. But when the pancreas can no longer keep up with the demand, your blood glucose rises too high and leads to hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes leads to hyperglycemia that mainly results from insulin resistance.
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Less often, an autoimmune reaction in the body can attack, destroying the beta cells in the pancreas that make insulin, leaving an individual without the ability to make enough or any insulin. That condition is known as type 1 diabetes.
Pregnant women develop a certain level of insulin resistance to ensure that there is enough energy available for the growing fetus, and gestational diabetes can sometimes result. It usually goes away after the child is born, although half of all women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.
Chances are you or someone you know has type 2 diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37.3 million people in the United States, or 11.3 percent of the population, had diabetes as of 2019. Up to 95 percent of them had type 2 diabetes, and 23 percent of all adults with diabetes — 8.5 million people — didn’t even know they had it.
You are 45 years or older. About 85 percent of diabetes cases in the United States are among adults age 45 or older, with about 43 percent of all cases occurring in adults over age 65.
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You are overweight or obese. Carrying extra weight increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Losing weight helps. In particular, shedding 5 to 7 percent of your body weight (that would be 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) — can lower a person’s risk of progressing from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. Losing weight can also help if you already have type 2 diabetes. One study showed a high level of remission among overweight and obese participants with type 2 diabetes who lost a significant amount of weight through a low-calorie diet.
You are physically inactive. The motivation to exercise is invaluable when it comes to diabetes, as 150 minutes or more of exercise per week can help a person delay, prevent or manage this health condition.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says this is because exercise increases insulin sensitivity, so your muscle cells can use any available insulin more effectively to take up glucose during and after activity. Additionally, when your muscles contract during exercise, your cells can take up glucose and use it for energy, whether insulin is available or not.
You have prediabetes. When insulin resistance causes your blood glucose level to be higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes, it is prediabetes. More than 1 in 3 people in the United States—a staggering 88 million people—are thought to have prediabetes, and 84 percent don’t know it. Losing weight and getting regular exercise are good ways for people at this stage of insulin resistance to delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.
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You have a family history of type 2 diabetes. If the disease runs in your family, you are at greater risk of getting it yourself. This is likely due to a combination of genetics and environment, such as shared eating habits.
You had gestational diabetes. Half of all women with gestational diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Ways to lower your risk include achieving a healthy body weight after delivery, as directed by your healthcare provider. Also, have your blood sugar tested 6 to 12 weeks after your baby is born and then every one to three years by your provider to make sure your level is where it should be.
Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes may vary by ethnicity. In the United States, people who are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander have a higher risk of diabetes than people of non-Hispanic white ethnicity. Ethnicity can also affect how weight increases your risk of having type 2 diabetes. While a body mass index (BMI) of 25 and above is a risk factor for most ethnic groups, a BMI of 23 and above for Asian Americans and 26 or above for Pacific Islanders may put a person at greater risk.
Your doctor will likely order lab tests to measure your blood glucose. You will be diagnosed with diabetes if your test result meets these criteria:
What To Know About Type 2 Diabetes
Diet and lifestyle changes are important to lower and stabilize your blood glucose level so you can manage type 2 diabetes. This may include limiting your intake of fried foods, foods high in salt, sweets, and sweetened beverages, while also favoring whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein or plant-based protein sources in appropriate portions.
Experts recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Your routine may involve a combination of aerobic or strength training activities, although you should work with your healthcare provider to develop an exercise plan that’s right for you.
Many people with type 2 diabetes monitor their blood glucose level regularly with a glucose meter or monitor. Typically, a meter analyzes a drop of blood that you draw by pricking your finger with a lancet; you then place the drop of blood on a disposable test strip, which you insert into the meter. Some people wear continuous glucose monitors on their arm or abdomen.
Many people with type 2 diabetes take oral medications or non-insulin injections, but some will receive insulin injections through a pen, pump, or needle.
Diabetes (type 2)
The first line of oral medication treatment for type 2 diabetes is generally metformin (Metformin Eqv-Fortamet), which helps control your blood sugar level by lowering glucose release from the liver and improving insulin resistance. There are also many other oral medications.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to numerous health complications – some of them life-threatening – if left untreated or inadequately managed. In 2018, U.S. hospitals reported that 17 million emergency department visits involved adults with diabetes—and about 1 in 3 required hospitalization for at least some time. In addition, 1.9 million also had a serious cardiovascular disease, such as heart disease or stroke, and 154,000 had lower-extremity amputations.
When a woman with poorly controlled diabetes becomes pregnant, there is an increased risk that the fetus will develop birth defects. Insulin-dependent women are at greatest risk, but those with type 2 diabetes who do not take insulin may also be at increased risk if their condition is poorly managed.
These health issues usually arise during the first trimester and can be so severe that the fetus does not survive.
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Furthermore, the fetus may be larger than normal at birth because it has received too much glucose from the mother’s blood. This can lead to injuries during birth.
In addition, too much glucose can delay the maturation of a fetus’ lungs, leading to breathing problems in the baby after birth.
Diabetes can affect your mental health, and conversely, your state of mind can affect how well you manage the disease. People with diabetes are 2 to 3 times more likely to experience depression than those who do not have the condition. Yet only 25 to 50 percent of all people who have diabetes and depression receive a mental health diagnosis and treatment.
There’s even a term called “diabetes distress” for what happens when you’re overwhelmed by the demands of managing the disease, and it can lead to unhealthy habits. In any 18-month period, 33 to 50 percent of people with diabetes experience it. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression or distress, ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a mental health provider who specializes in chronic conditions, and consider joining a diabetes support group, such as one through the Diabetes Online Community.
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Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2019, with approximately 282,801 death certificates listing it as the underlying cause of death or a contributing cause.
Diabetes can be an expensive disease, both for the public and for individuals living with it. In 2017, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States was $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in indirect costs. People with diabetes diagnosed in 2017 had an average of $9,601 in medical expenses directly attributable to the disease.
As mentioned, type 2 diabetes is when your blood glucose level is too high due to insulin resistance, which means your body does not use insulin efficiently; type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin, leaving you with little or nothing to help you process sugar into energy. Type 2 diabetes usually begins in
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