About Type 2 Diabetes

diabetes chart
Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), or simply diabetes, is a chronic (life-long) group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin.

While it can be managed and treatment is available, there is currently no cure for diabetes.

Effects of Diabetes
Diabetes can affect many parts of your body, such as your heart, eyes, and feet. Getting regular medical tests can help you and your healthcare team manage your diabetes to help prevent complications (problems) or find them early when they are most treatable.

In Type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, the body breaks down the sugars and starches into glucose.

This is the basic fuel for the cells in the body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications.

Signs of Type 2 Diabetes
You may have experienced some of these signs before your doctor told you that you had diabetes. Sometimes there may be no signs at all. A doctor must give a blood test to see if a person has diabetes. The signs of Type 2 diabetes are:
  • Being tired and irritable
  • Being very thirsty
  • Feeling very hungry
  • Having blurry eyesight
  • Having cuts / bruises that heal slowly
  • Having infections of the skin, gum, or bladder
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Tingling / numbness in the hands / feet
  • Urinating often
Testing for Diabetes
Diabetes is detected when your doctor or nurse finds a high level of sugar in your blood or urine. The best way to test for diabetes is to check your sugar level before you have eaten or had anything to drink. This is called fasting blood sugar.
A healthy range for fasting blood sugar is between 60 and 99 mg/dL. Levels between 100 and 125 mg/dL are considered pre-diabetic. If left untreated, the level of glucose in the body can become very high leading to a coma or even death.

Common Risk Factors
There are common risk factors for diabetes. These include:
  • Being African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Asian Indian, or Pacific Islander
  • Being over the age of 40
  • Being overweight
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Lack of physical activity 
Find out if you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes by taking a quick seven-question risk test

Controlling Diabetes
While diabetes cannot be cured, it can be controlled. Your healthcare team can help decide the best way to manage your diabetes. Keeping your sugar level under control will help you enjoy a healthier life. You can control diabetes by:
  • Being active
  • Eating right
  • Learning about diabetes
  • Monitoring your blood sugar level
  • Taking medications as prescribed
  • Working with your healthcare team which may include a doctor, dietitian, podiatrist, and others 
Additional Information
Diabetes information is courtesy of the American Diabetes Association, the National Association of Diabetes Educators, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the National Patient Education Institute.