Type 2 Diabetes
What is type 2 diabetes?
Insulin is a hormone that helps the body's cells use sugar (glucose) for energy. It also helps the body store extra sugar in muscle, fat, and liver cells. Without insulin, this sugar can't get into your cells to do its work. It stays in your blood instead. Your blood sugar level then gets too high.
Type 2 diabetes is different from type 1 diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body's immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, so that over time the body can't produce insulin at all. In type 2 diabetes, the body still makes some insulin, but it can't use it the right way.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
You can get type 2 diabetes if:
If you are overweight, get little or no exercise, or have type 2 diabetes in your family, you are more likely to have problems with the way insulin works in your body. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle, including staying at a healthy weight, making healthy food choices, and getting regular exercise.
What are the symptoms?
Some people don't have symptoms, especially when diabetes is diagnosed early. This is because the blood sugar level may rise so slowly that a person may not know that anything is wrong.
The most common symptoms of high blood sugar include:
You can get high blood sugar for many reasons, including not taking your diabetes medicines, eating more than usual (especially sweets), not exercising, or being sick or under a lot of stress.
If you're taking insulin or oral diabetes medicine, you can also have problems with low blood sugar. These symptoms include:
How is type 2 diabetes diagnosed?
If your doctor thinks that you have type 2 diabetes, he or she will ask you questions about your medical history, do a physical exam, and order a blood test that measures the amount of sugar in your blood.
How is it treated?
The key to treating type 2 diabetes is to keep blood sugar levels controlled and in your target range.
All of the following help to lower blood sugar:
It's also important to:
It seems like a lot to do—especially at first. You might start with one or two changes. Focus on checking your blood sugar regularly and being active more often. Work on other tasks as you can.
It can be hard to accept that you have diabetes. It's normal to feel sad or angry. You may even feel grief. Talking about your feelings can help. Your doctor or other health professionals can help you cope.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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