Diabetes is caused by a problem in the way your body makes or uses insulin. Insulin is needed to move blood sugar (glucose) into cells, where it is stored and later used for energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your fat, liver and muscle cells do not respond correctly to insulin. This is called insulin resistance. As a result, blood sugar does not get into these cells to be stored for energy. When sugar cannot enter cells, high levels of sugar build up in the blood. This is called hyperglycemia.
Type 2 diabetes usually occurs slowly over time. Most people with the disease are overweight when they are diagnosed. Increased fat makes it harder for your body to use insulin the correct way. Type 2 diabetes can also develop in people who are thin. This is more common in the elderly, but is now being seen in children. Family history and genes play a role in type 2 diabetes. Low activity level, poor diet, and excess body weight around the waist increase your risk.
Your health care provider may suspect that you have diabetes if your blood sugar level is higher than 200 mg/dL. To confirm the diagnosis, one or more of the following tests must be done.
After many years, diabetes can lead to serious problems:
To prevent problems from diabetes, visit your health care provider or diabetes educator at least four times a year. Talk about any problems you are having and call if you experience:
You should see your healthcare provider every 3 months. At these visits, you can expect your health care provider to:
Often, people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at first. They may not have symptoms for many years. The early symptoms of diabetes may include: bladder, kidney, skin, or other infections that are more frequent and slower to heal. Other symptoms may include:
The goal of treatment, at first, is to lower high blood glucose levels. The long-term goals of treatment are to prevent problems from diabetes. The main treatment for type 2 diabetes is exercise and diet.