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Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes: Introduction

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which the body does not respond to the effects of the hormone insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. In addition, some people with type 2 diabetes also may not produce sufficient amounts of insulin in the pancreas.

The role of insulin is to facilitate movement of sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into the body's cells, where it is used for energy. Insulin also helps the liver to store excess glucose. When the body cannot process and use glucose properly, the body's cells do not get the energy they need. Medically, this is known as an inability to metabolize glucose, which results in an abnormally high level of glucose in the blood, called hyperglycemia.

It type 2 diabetes goes untreated, hyperglycemia damages the body's blood vessels and can lead to many complications that can affect nearly every organ in the body. Complications include kidney failure, diabetic retinopathy and blindness, peripheral neuropathy, kidney failure, serious skin infections, gangrene, cardiovascular disease, stroke, disability, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease, hearing damage, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome, and death.

As much as 95% of people with diabetes in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes. Unlike type 1diabetes, which is not preventable, Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented. Being overweight and inactive are two important risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes. Other risk factors include having a personal history of gestational diabetes, a family history of type 2 diabetes or having an African-American, Native American, Asian-American, or Hispanic ancestry.

Another risk factor is being over 45 years of age. This is why type 2 diabetes is also known as adult-onset diabetes, although many more young people and children are now being diagnosed with the disease due to higher rates of obesity and inactivity in these age groups. Having a personal history of a condition called prediabetes, the earliest form of type 2 diabetes, is another risk factor.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include excessive thirst, excessive urination, and fatigue. For more details on symptoms, refer to symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms may be vague or unnoticeable for years, resulting in a delayed diagnosis of the disease. This is why it is important to receive regular medical care throughout your lifetime to screen for type 2 diabetes. For information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is easy to diagnose during a routine office visit with a simple blood test, called a fasting blood glucose test, which will detect hyperglycemia. High levels of glucose can also be quickly detected with a random blood glucose test or an urinanalysis performed on urine. The newest form of testing for diabetes is the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, which measures the average overall blood sugar for the past several months.

Prompt diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and effective ongoing life-long treatment to normalize sugar levels in the blood are key to minimizing serious complications.

At this time type 2 diabetes cannot be cured but it can be effectively managed and even prevented. Treatment of type 2 diabetes includes regular monitoring of blood sugar levels, eating a well-balanced healthy diet, regular aerobic exercise, and medications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of type 2 diabetes. ...more »

Type 2 diabetes: Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, typically affecting over-40's adults, whereas Type 1 diabetes is the insulin-requiring juvenile form. In many cases, when people say "diabetes", it refers to Type 2 diabetes. Although insulin may be needed in later stages, it is usually treated by diet-only or by diabetes medications in the early years after diagnosis.

Because Type 2 diabetes starts out with only mild symptoms, it is one of the most common under-diagnosed diseases, with millions of Americans unaware that they have it (or the earlier phase called IGT). This is unfortunate, because diabetes causes significant damage to the body and leads to various complications, even in the period prior to diagnosis.

Diagnosis must separate diabetes from other causes of mild symptoms, but this is easily done using the tests for diabetes. Type 2 diabetes must be distinguished from other types of diabetes including Type 1 diabetes, MODY, and IGT. In some cases, an underlying condition such as metabolic syndrome, hemochromatosis or cystic fibrosis may be the actual base illness. ...more »

Type 2 diabetes: Animations

Type 2 diabetes: Broader Related Topics

 

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