Find out what you need to know about type 2 diabetes, by reading our guide on the disease which covers symptoms, diagnosis and treatment information.
You might not know what is diabetes type 2, compared to diabetes type 1, so here is our explanation to help equip you with what you need to know about type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes differs from type 1 in that the body does produce insulin but that insulin is either insufficient for the body’s needs or it isn’t used efficiently enough to be effective. Because there isn’t enough insulin to assist glucose in entering the cells of the body, the glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead and causes numerous problems. Some of these problems can be very serious, including cataracts, glaucoma and blindness; kidney problems; heart attacks and stroke. Groups of people at greatest risk for type 2 diabetes, also known as diabetes type 2, include those who are over 45 years of age, are seriously overweight, do not exercise enough, have a family history of diabetes type 2, have high blood pressure or have either high triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol. In addition, certain ethnic groups are more susceptible to contract the disease, for instance Latinos, African-Americans, Native Americans and Pacific Islanders and Asians.
Now that you know what is diabetes type 2, you need to understand the symptoms of it. The disease is characterized by some combination of the following symptoms: increased frequency of thirst, increased frequency and intensity of hunger, mouth dryness, nausea sometimes accompanied by vomiting, urinating more frequently, tired feeling, vision that’s blurry, hand or foot numbness, skin infections, urinary tract infections, vagina infections and persistent sores. One other rarely occurring symptom is a person experiencing a diabetic coma.
Doctors test for this disease by checking for high blood glucose levels during and after fasting or, alternatively, by conducting a test called the “Hemoglobin A1C Test,” which checks a person’s average blood sugar level over a duration of two to three months. There are also other tests used that help to pinpoint the type of diabetes with which a person is afflicted.
Although symptoms from diabetes type 2 can be managed with a program specific to the individual, what you need to know about type 2 diabetes is that some very serious health issues can develop if careful monitoring and management does not occur. Many people with the disease develop some kind of eye problems because the tiny blood vessels nourishing the eyes become damaged by diabetes.
The kidneys can be harmed by the disease, as well, and the longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk of kidney damage. If the condition is not caught early, the risk becomes much greater and the damage can be correspondingly greater, as well.
Nerve damage due to poor blood circulation is a common health issue related to type 2 diabetes. If the blood vessels in the body become damaged, it can lead to a stroke or a heart attack, both of which can be fatal. Damage to nerves may lead to poor circulation and loss of sensation in the feet. Skin infections and skin ulcers can result, as well, and if these become serious enough, amputation may be necessary. Digestive problems resulting from diabetes may cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
What you need to know about type 2 diabetes is that the long-term outlook for people contracting type 2 diabetes is much more favorable today than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Formerly, those afflicted might anticipate a life expectancy to be reduced by 10 or 15 years due to all the possible complications arising from the condition that affect one’s health.
Today the prognosis for people with type 2 diabetes is much brighter, and with proper management, a life expectancy of 70 years is a strong possibility. The key to this however, is proper treatment for type 2 diabetes and monitoring of the condition. Regular doctor visits are necessary so that changes are detected immediately and handled in the best possible manner.
In general, the treatment for type 2 diabetes must include a regular regime of exercise, a diabetes type 2 diet consisting of healthy eating and careful monitoring of the kinds of food taken in by the body, possibly regular injections of insulin and close attention to blood sugar levels.
The diabetes type 2 diet should include many fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods, and less carbohydrates, sweets and meats. What you need to know about type 2 diabetes is that the most helpful foods are those that do not trigger a quick rise in blood sugar levels, which are those rich in fiber. Diabetics are often coached by professional dietitians and doctors who can recommend the right mix of foods to keep the body’s blood sugar levels as stable as possible.
Exercise and physical activity need to be part of the diabetic’s daily routine, with 30 to 60 minutes of movement a good target for which to shoot. Aerobics are one good activity because they increase the heart rate significantly and stimulate circulation in the body. Swimming, biking and walking are other exercises beneficial to the diabetic.
A patient on insulin will likely have to check blood sugar levels several times each day; if there is no program of insulin injection needed, monitoring might only be required occasionally. Doctors will always inform patients about their specific requirements in this area because it is essential to ongoing health and stability.
What you need to know about type 2 diabetes is that several medications might be used to manage the symptoms for a type 2 diabetic. Metformin is one of the first medications generally prescribed because it helps improve the body’s usage of insulin and lower any resistance to it. With better usage of the body’s insulin, glucose is then able to enter the cells of the body and not remain in the bloodstream to cause health issues.
A class of medications called sulfonylureas helps the body produce more insulin, and these are prescribed in cases where the body isn’t producing insulin in sufficient quantity. Meglitinides are a similar class of drugs that have the same effect of causing the body to produce more insulin, but are generally more fast acting than sulfonylureas and stay active in the body for a shorter period.
Insulin therapy is used in many diabetic cases and must be injected because the digestive process interferes when it is taken orally. Shots must be given throughout the day, ending with one long-acting shot at bedtime.
In all diabetic patients, a change of lifestyle is necessary, because carrying on with the same lifestyle as before diagnosis is certain to lead to serious health issues and shortened life expectancy. What you need to know about type 2 diabetes is that the first thing that has to happen is that the diabetic must acknowledge and accept the new life circumstances and get over the denial phase of the diagnosis.
Type 2 diabetes treatment involves the diabetic making a lifelong commitment to regular monitoring of the disease and commit to regular doctor visits, as well, so that a professional assessment can be added to daily observations at home. It is a good idea for diabetics to identify themselves with a life-alert bracelet or other tag in the event that they become incapacitated so strangers are aware of the likely cause.
What you need to know about Type 2 diabetes is that annual physical exams are crucial so that overall body health can be monitored and any gross changes can be identified and addressed. Eye exams should be done annually, as well, since the eyes are one of the areas of the body most commonly affected by the disease. Early detection here can prevent serious eye issues.
Immunizations should be kept up to date so that complications from other health issues do not spill over to affect the status of diabetes. The patient’s feet should be checked regularly and washed frequently. During these sessions, they should be examined for blistering, swelling, cracked skin, cuts and sores.
Blood pressure must be kept under control with a doctor’s help, and if medication is needed, that should be prescribed. Cholesterol should also be closely monitored, and if this isn’t checked during the annual physical, it should be checked at other times. Eating healthy meals can go a long way toward keeping blood pressure and cholesterol under control.
Diabetics who smoke must make a commitment to quit smoking, because it is one of the most harmful things the diabetic can have in his or her lifestyle. It greatly increases the risk factor for any diabetic and can cause any number of health complications, particularly in the respiratory areas. If a doctor’s help is needed to quit smoking, it should be initiated as early on as possible.
Type 2 diabetes treatment highlights that excessive consumption of alcohol should also be reduced or eliminated from the diabetic’s lifestyle, because it can lead to either high or low blood sugar, depending on whether anything is eaten during alcohol consumption. The recommendation is that a meal should always be eaten along with any drinking of alcohol, and that drinking should occur only in moderation. Moderation for men means no more than two drinks per day up to age 65, and only one drink per day after that age. For women, the recommended consumption level of alcohol is no more than one drink per day at any age.
The changes in lifestyle for a diabetic may seem drastic at first, but type 2 diabetes treatment is necessary to maintain living a near normal life, and after a period, the changes become ingrained and the diabetic will usually accept them as part of the new daily routine. In fact, the changes often help the diabetic feel better and, as such, helps him or her forget he or she even has the condition.
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