WHAT IS TYPE 2 DIABETES?
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body processes blood sugar. Unlike Type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disorder, Type 2 diabetes is often caused by lifestyle factors such as poor diet, lack of physical activity, and obesity. It is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for around 90-95% of all diabetes cases.
The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can be subtle and may not appear for many years. Common symptoms include:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing wounds
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
There are several risk factors for developing Type 2 diabetes, including:
- Age (risk increases as you get older)
- Family history
- Lack of physical activity
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Gestational diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is typically diagnosed using a combination of blood tests. These may include:
- A1C test: measures average blood sugar levels over the past two to three months
- Fasting blood sugar test: measures blood sugar levels after fasting for at least 8 hours
- Oral glucose tolerance test: measures blood sugar levels after fasting and then again 2 hours after drinking a sugary liquid
Diabetes is treated with daily insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump. This replaces the insulin that the body is unable to produce. People with Type 1 Diabetes will also need to monitor their blood sugar levels regularly and make adjustments to their insulin doses based on the results.
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Type 2 diabetes is typically managed with a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and monitoring. Treatment may include:
- Lifestyle changes: including diet and exercise to manage weight and blood sugar levels
- Medication: including oral diabetes medications and/or insulin to help manage blood sugar levels
- Monitoring: regular blood sugar testing and regular check-ups with a healthcare provider
- Weight management: Losing weight and keeping it off can help improve insulin sensitivity and lower the risk of developing diabetes-related complications
Type 2 diabetes can lead to a range of serious complications if left untreated, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye disease