Type 2 Diabetes: A Quick, Easy Explanation
(AscendHealthy.com) – Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a chronic medical condition in which the blood sugar (glucose) level becomes too high. Type 2 diabetes often develops in people over age 45. However, more young adults, teenagers, and children are being diagnosed with the lifelong disease.
Therefore, no one is immune to this condition. On that note, there are some things you should know about type 2 diabetes. In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about type 2 diabetes, including causes, symptoms, treatment, and more. Read on.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
Blood glucose is the primary energy source for every cell in the body and comes mainly from the food you eat. After food is digested, glucose is released into the bloodstream. Insulin, a hormone secreted by the pancreas, directs cells to take in glucose.
If you have type 2 diabetes, the cells in your body are unable to respond to insulin as well as they should; this is referred to as insulin resistance. At this point, the pancreas will start to make more insulin in an attempt to get the cells to respond. Eventually, the pancreas cannot keep up, causing glucose to build up in your blood.
The build-up of sugar (glucose) in your bloodstream sets the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Chronically high blood glucose levels cause type 2 diabetes and can lead to other serious health problems such as kidney disease, vision loss, and heart disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
When you have type 2 diabetes, not enough glucose reaches your cells, and your body has to rely on alternative energy sources in your organs, muscles, and tissues. This causes a chain reaction that can lead to a range of symptoms. These include:
- Constant hunger
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Blurry vision
- Numbness or a tingling sensation in your hands or feet
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be mild and difficult to spot. Sometimes there aren’t any noticeable symptoms at all. Knowing the risk factors — age, weight, and family history — can help detect type 2 diabetes early. A health care professional can diagnose type 2 diabetes based on blood tests.
Managing Type 2 Diabetes
There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but you may be able to manage your diabetes with a mix of lifestyle changes and medication. Here are several lifestyle changes your doctor will most likely recommend to help manage your type 2 diabetes:
- Healthy eating. A big part of managing type 2 diabetes is developing a healthy diet. A registered dietitian can help you create a meal plan that works for you.
- Exercise. Physical activity is also an essential part of managing diabetes. Get moving to keep your weight under control and your heart healthy. Being physically active can help to control blood glucose, too.
- Watch your blood sugar. Checking your blood sugar regularly is also a huge part of managing your type 2 diabetes. Your doctor will let you know how often you should check it and provide a specific target.
Insulin is a hormone created by your pancreas. It helps move glucose from your blood to your cells, where it’s used for energy. But with type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin properly, and too much glucose stays in your blood. If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to various health complications.
There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but a few lifestyle changes can help you keep your blood glucose levels in check. You may also need prescribed medicines as part of managing your type 2 diabetes. Your doctor will help you come up with an effective diabetes care plan.
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