Type 2 DiabetesType 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, most often affecting adults. Diabetes prevents the body from properly converting glucose into energy, a task which is aided by the hormone insulin. With diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or develops a resistance to it. Either way, blood sugar levels are raised and health complications arise. Type 2 diabetes, which is the most commonly diagnosed form in America, can have serious long-term complications if not properly managed. It is also known as adult-onset diabetes and noninsulin dependent diabetes.
Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
Although no single cause of type 2 diabetes has been found, the disease has been linked to certain risk factors, some of which can be controlled through lifestyle changes. These risk factors include:
- Weight – Obesity is a primary risk factor because the more fatty tissue a person has, the more resistant cells become to insulin.
- Activity level – Being physically active helps to maintain a healthy body weight, uses up the body’s glucose and makes cells more sensitive to insulin. A sedentary lifestyle is a leading risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
- Genetics – People with parents or siblings with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing the disease.
- Age – The risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age.
- Gestational diabetes – Women who develop gestational diabetes when pregnant are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes does not progress quickly, and patients may not even realize they have symptoms for quite some time. Anyone experiencing the following symptoms should seek a diagnosis:
- Frequent hunger and thirst
- Unplanned weight loss
- Blurry vision
- Frequent urges to urinate
- Tingling sensations in the hands or feet
If left untreated, type 2 diabetes could eventually cause heart disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye damage and many other physical and mental ailments throughout the body.
Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed with a blood test, specifically an A1C (glycated hemoglobin) test. In the event that a patient is unable to take an A1C test due to anemia, pregnancy or a recent blood transfusion, a doctor may administer random or fasting blood sugar tests, or an oral glucose tolerance test. Some patients may be diagnosed with prediabetes, which will require a treatment plan to help prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
Treating Type 2 Diabetes
Luckily for those who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the condition is manageable through healthy lifestyle habits and blood sugar monitoring. Medication and insulin therapy are sometimes used to help manage the condition as well. Tampa General Hospital’s multidisciplinary team can help patients living with type 2 diabetes develop the most effective treatment plans for their own needs.