Learn More about Type 2 Diabetes
What is type 2 diabetes?
- Type 2 diabetes is a disorder that affects the way your body metabolizes (absorbs) sugar.
- Normally, sugar is digested, broken down into glucose, and used as energy by cells. This process is assisted by the hormone insulin.
- If you have diabetes, this process is disrupted and blood sugar levels can become too high.
- People with type 2 diabetes typically can produce insulin, but either they don't make enough or their cells do not respond to it.
- Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
- The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can develop slowly and gradually, unlike those of type 1, which usually appear in childhood.
- These symptoms include increased thirst and hunger, fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, and slow healing.
- Not everyone with type 2 diabetes experiences symptoms.
How is type 2 diabetes treated and monitored?
- The American Diabetes Association (ADA) publishes guidelines for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They recommend that treatment begin with lifestyle changes (such as healthy diet and exercise) and oral type 2 diabetes medications such as metformin. People with more severe or unresponsive diabetes may require other oral type 2 diabetes treatments and/or insulin to reach their blood glucose (sugar) goals.
- Blood sugar levels must be measured regularly. Your healthcare professional will instruct you so you can do this at home with a blood glucose meter. You will also need to keep a daily log of your results.
- Another test, known as A1C, measures your average blood sugar levels over a 2- to 3-month period.
- Measuring A1C doesn't replace daily self-testing, but it gives you an idea of how well your overall treatment plan is working.
- The ADA and many doctors consider an A1C level of less than 7% to be ideal.
What are the consequences of untreated type 2 diabetes?
- Untreated diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and blindness, so treatment is essential.
- Long-term complications develop slowly, but can become life-threatening.
- Some of the complications include:
|Heart disease||Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of cardiovascular problems, including angina (chest pain), high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.|
|Neuropathy (nerve damage)||Excess sugar can damage the walls of small blood vessels that nourish nerve cells. This can result in numbness, tingling, burning, or pain that usually starts at the tips of fingers or toes.|
|Vision loss||Damage to blood vessels in the retina can lead to blindness. Diabetes also increases the risk of other eye conditions, including cataracts and glaucoma.|
|Nephropathy (kidney damage)||Diabetes can injure the blood vessel clusters that filter waste from the blood. This can lead to kidney failure or irreversible disease requiring dialysis or transplant.|
|Foot damage||Nerve injury or poor circulation in the feet increases the risk of serious infections that could result in the need for amputation.|
Where can I go for more information about type 2 diabetes?
There are many organizations that provide information on treating type 2 diabetes . If you want to learn more about diagnosis, treatment, or living with type 2 diabetes, the websites listed below may be a good place to start. You may also want to ask your doctor and healthcare team for local groups who might be able to offer more personalized support.
- American Diabetes Association
- US Department of Health and Human Services
- Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Next, learn more about GLUMETZA®, a first-line type 2 diabetes medicine that may help minimize stomach-related side effects, such as nausea, in the first week of taking the medication.