Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which
people have problems regulating their blood sugar. People with diabetes have
high blood sugar because their bodies:
not produce enough insulin
not responsive to insulin
combination of both
Type 2 diabetes is extremely common. The Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that over 29 million children and adults in the United States have some form of
diabetes. That is about 9 percent of the population. The vast majority of these
people have type 2 diabetes.
When you eat food, the body digests the
carbohydrates in into a type of sugar called glucose. Glucose is the main
source of energy for cells. Cells rely on the hormone insulin to absorb and use
glucose as a form of energy. Insulin is produced by the pancreas.
People usually develop type 2 diabetes
because their cells have become resistant to insulin. Then, over time, their
body may stop making sufficient insulin as well. These problems lead to blood
sugar, or glucose, building up in the blood
There are several different types of diabetes:
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes used to be known as juvenile
onset diabetes because it is usually first diagnosed in childhood, though it
can be diagnosed later in life as well.. People with type 1 diabetes cannot
make insulin and are insulin dependent. They must use insulin injections to
control their blood sugar.
According to the CDC, only about five percent
of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes (CDC).
There is no known way to prevent type 1
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of
diabetes, and was once known as adult
onset diabetes. However, in recent years, the rate of type 2 diagnoses in
children has been growing.
Type 2 diabetes usually starts as insulin
resistance. Cells stop responding properly to insulin and sugar is
unable to get from the blood into the cells. Over time, the pancreas cannot
make enough insulin to keep blood sugars in the normal range and the body
becomes progressively less able to regulate blood sugar.
Many people with diabetes can
manage their blood sugar with diet and exercise, especially if they lose weight
(if they are overweight). If not,
medications to help control blood sugar are available.
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is
often preventable. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:
history of diabetes
of gestational diabetes
You can greatly reduce your risk of type 2
diabetes by keeping your weight in its ideal range and exercising regularly. If
you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, talk to your doctor about how to lower
your risk for progressing to type 2 diabetes
Other Types of Diabetes
Pregnant women are at risk of gestational diabetes, characterized by high
blood sugar levels that are associated with pregnancy. This form
of diabetes usually resolves or goes away after a woman gives birth. However,
she must carefully control her blood sugar during pregnancy to reduce the risk
of possible complications. Women with gestational diabetes have an increased
risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.
Certain diseases and genetic conditions can
also cause other types of diabetes. However, these types of diabetes are rare.
Uncontrolled diabetes significantly increases your risk of
long-term health problems and even death. According to the CDC, the death rate for
people with type 2 diabetes is twice as high as that of people the same age
people without diabetes. In addition, diabetes increases your risk of conditions
disease, including blindness
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, kidney
failure (CDC) and
amputations among adults.
Fortunately, most of the complications of type 2 diabetes are
preventable. Keeping your blood sugar under control can prevent serious
complications. This requires a lifelong commitment to staying healthy,
- eating well
- maintaining a healthy weight
- taking medications, as prescribed by your doctor
In addition, regular preventative care visits can help keep minor
complications from becoming more serious ones. For example:
- Your eye doctor can catch problems early
before they lead to blindness.
- Early kidney treatment can help maintain
- Regular foot checks can reduce the risk of damage extensive
enough to require amputation.
Don’t let diabetes control your life. Control your blood sugar instead,
and take charge of your health.