Health Encyclopedia

 

Health Encyclopedia Home



Type 2 DiabetesTipo 2 de Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder. It results when the body can't make enough insulin, or can't use it properly. adequate production or utilization of insulin, the body cannot move blood sugar into the cells. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that has no known cure. It is the most common type of diabetes, also called adult onset diabetes.

What is prediabetes?

In prediabetes, blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. However, many people with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Prediabetes also significantly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. With modest weight loss and moderate physical activity, people with prediabetes can delay or prevent the progression to type 2 diabetes.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

The exact cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown. However, some genetic factors that run in families contribute to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Although a person can inherit a tendency to develop type 2 diabetes, it usually takes other factors, such as obesity or physical inactivity, to bring on the disease.

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

The following are the most common symptoms of type 2 diabetes. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Frequent bladder and skin infections that don't heal easily

  • High blood sugar when tested

  • High sugar in the urine when tested

  • Unusual thirst

  • Frequent urination

  • Weight loss despite an increase in appetite

  • Blurred vision

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Extreme weakness and fatigue

  • Irritability and mood changes

  • Dry, itchy skin

  • Tingling or loss of feeling in the hands or feet

  • Sexual dysfunction

Some people who have type 2 diabetes may have no symptoms. Symptoms may be mild and almost unnoticeable, or easily confused with normal signs of aging. Half of all Americans who have diabetes do not know it.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may look like other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.

What are the risk factors for type 2 diabetes?

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include the following:

  • Age. People age 45 or older are at higher risk for diabetes.

  • Family history of diabetes

  • Being overweight

  • Not exercising regularly

  • Race and ethnicity. Being a member of certain racial and ethnic groups increases the risk for type 2 diabetes. African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians are more prone to develop type 2 diabetes than white Americans. 

  • Pregnancy

  • History of gestational diabetes, or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds

  • A low blood level HDL (high-density lipoprotein--the "good cholesterol")

  • A high blood triglyceride level

What is the treatment for type 2 diabetes?

Specific treatment for type 2 diabetes will be determined by your doctor based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the disease

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disease

  • Your opinion or preference

The goal of treatment is to keep blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible.

Emphasis is on control of blood sugar (glucose) by monitoring the levels, regular physical activity, meal planning, and routine health care. Treatment of diabetes is an ongoing process of management and education that includes not only the person with diabetes, but also health care professionals and family members.

Often, type 2 diabetes can be controlled through losing weight, improved nutrition, and exercise alone. However, in some cases, these measures are not enough and either oral or injected medications and/or insulin must be used. Treatment often includes:

  • Proper diet

  • Weight control

  • An appropriate exercise program

  • Regular foot inspections

  • Oral medications, other medications, and/or insulin replacement therapy, as directed by your doctor. There are various types of medications that may be used to treat type 2 diabetes when lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise, and weight loss are not enough. Oral medications of several different types are available, with each type working in a different manner to lower blood sugar. One medication may be combined with another one to improve blood sugar control. When oral medications are no longer effective, insulin or other non-insulin injected medications may be prescribed.
    New medications for treating diabetes are in development.

  • Regular monitoring of the hemoglobin A1c levels. The hemoglobin A1c test (also called HbA1c or A1C test) shows the average amount of sugar in the blood over the last three months. The result will indicate if the blood sugar level is under control. The frequency of HbA1c testing will be determined by your doctor. It is recommended that testing occur at least twice a year if the blood sugar level is in the target range and stable, and more frequently if the blood sugar level is unstable.

Untreated or poorly-treated diabetes can cause problems with the kidneys, legs, feet, eyes, heart, nerves, and blood flow, which could lead to kidney failure, gangrene, amputation, blindness, or stroke. For these reasons, it is important to follow a strict treatment plan.

Advances in diabetes research have led to improved methods of managing diabetes and treating its complications. However, scientists continue to explore the causes of diabetes and ways to prevent and treat the disorder. Other methods of giving insulin through inhalers and pills are currently being studied. Scientists are investigating genetic factors involved in type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and some genetic markers for both types have been identified. Bariatric surgery  has been used effectively to help spur weight loss and treat type 2 diabetes.

 
Related Items
Wellness Library
  Activity Can Help Control Diabetes
  Controlling Type 2 Diabetes With a Healthy Lifestyle
  Steps Women Can Take to Reduce Their Diabetes Risk
  Essential Eye Care for Diabetes
  Strategies for Managing Type 2 Diabetes
  Working with Your Diabetes Health Care Team
  Real-Life Ways to Manage Diabetes
  Lifestyle Changes Can Help Kids Avoid Type 2 Diabetes
SCC Videos
  Diabetes, Type 2
  Diabetes Related Eye Disease
  Foot Care for People with Diabetes
Content Type 167
  Glucose (Urine)
Nutritional Supplement Advisor
  Chromium
HealthInk Healthy Tips
  Help Children Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
  Magnesium May Help Prevent Diabetes
  Staying Active With Diabetes
  Sugar Drinks Linked to Diabetes
  Diagnosing Diabetes
Drug Reference
  Chlorpropamide
  Acarbose
  Miglitol
  Repaglinide
  Rosiglitazone
  Pioglitazone
  Nateglinide
  Glyburide; Metformin
  Glimepiride
  Glipizide
  Glipizide; Metformin
  Metformin; Rosiglitazone
  Glyburide
  Regular Insulin
  Insulin Aspart
  Insulin Lispro
  Insulin Glulisine
  Isophane Insulin (NPH)
  Lente Insulin
  Ultralente Insulin
  Insulin Glargine
  Insulin Detemir
  Insulin Lispro; Insulin Lispro Protamine
  Insulin Aspart; Insulin Aspart Protamine
  Regular Insulin; Isophane Insulin (NPH)
  Exenatide
  Metformin; Pioglitazone
  Insulin, Inhaled
  Glimepiride; Rosiglitazone
  Liraglutide
  Sitagliptin
  Glimepiride; Pioglitazone
  Metformin; Sitagliptin
  Metformin; Repaglinide
  Saxagliptin
  Metformin
  Acetohexamide
  Tolazamide
  Tolbutamide
  Pramlintide
  Troglitazone
Quizzes
  Diabetes Quiz
MRAs
  Type 2 Diabetes Risk Assessment
Disease Management
  Diabetes Tests Worksheet
  Type 2 Diabetes and Food Choices
  Diabetes and Sensitive Topics
  People with Diabetes Need to Wear ID
  Diabetes and Alcohol
  How to Manage Diabetes During Illness
  Insulin and Type 2 Diabetes
  Diabetic Skin Troubles
  Exercise—Are You Getting Enough?
  How Can Diabetes Affect Bladder Control?
  With Diabetes, Beat the Heat
  Can You Control Diabetes Without Medication?
  Diabetes: Tests You Need and Why
  What Can Disease Management Do for You?
  Important Vaccines for People with Diabetes
  Managing Your Diabetes Medications
  Protecting Your Vision
  Diabetes and Sexual Intimacy
Daily News Feed
  Black Kids With Diabetes Less Likely to Get Eye Exams
  Early Diabetes Signs Often Missed in Alzheimer's Patients
  Diabetes Drug May Protect the Brain
  Diabetes-Linked Amputations Declining, Study Finds
  Weight Loss May Help Thwart Diabetes
  Skipping Breakfast a Recipe for Heart Disease, Study Finds
  People With Diabetes May Face Higher Disability Risk
  Low Blood Sugar Levels May Pose Heart Risks for Diabetics, Review Suggests
  In Mice, Diabetes Drug Metformin Tied to Longer, Healthier Lives
  Diabetes Doesn't Seem to Affect Alzheimer's Disease Progression
  Metformin May Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer Death, Researchers Say
  High Blood Sugar Levels Tied to Small Increases in Dementia Risk
  Diet Choices May Help Diabetics Stave Off Kidney Disease
  Depression in Diabetes Patients Linked to Dementia, Study Finds
  Mediterranean Diet May Help Thwart Type 2 Diabetes, Study Finds
  Simple Test May Spot Dementia Risk in Seniors With Diabetes
  Antipsychotic Drugs May Triple Kids' Diabetes Risk, Study Suggests
  Urine Test May Show Risk of Mental Decline in People With Type 2 Diabetes
  In Type 2 Diabetes, Gut May 'Taste' Sugar Differently
  Study May Explain Why Some Obese People Don't Get Diabetes
  Whole Fruits Tied to Lower Diabetes Risk
  New Drug Shows Promise for Type 2 Diabetes
  Even Younger Women With Diabetes May Face Higher Odds for Heart Disease
  4 Factors Predict Diabetes Remission After Surgery: Study
  New Understanding of Racial Disparities and Diabetes
  Blood 'Marker' May Predict Diabetes Risk in Older Women
  Could Obesity Help Older People With Type 2 Diabetes?
  Big Breakfast May Be Best for Diabetes Patients
  Are All Home-Based Blood Sugar Tests Equal?
  Some Helpful Hints When Monitoring Blood Sugar
  Poor Sleep Habits Linked With Chronic Diseases, Study Says
  Tom Hanks Has Type 2 Diabetes
  Early Periods May Signal Greater Diabetes Risk, Study Suggests
  Epilepsy Often Hand-in-Hand With Other Health Problems: CDC
  Testing for Pregnancy-Linked Diabetes Should Be Routine, Experts Say
  Could Low 'Brown Fat' Levels Be Tied to Higher Diabetes Risk?
  Meat Products Could Raise Diabetes Risk: Study
  Needle-Free 'Breathalyzer' for Daily Diabetes Testing Shows Promise
  Could Elite Athletes Have Lower Risk for Diabetes?
  New Study Paints Grim Health Picture for Obese Teens
  'Healthy' Obesity May Still Carry Higher Health Risks
  Type 2 Diabetes Might Raise Risk of Liver Cancer
  Some Diabetes Drugs May Affect Cancer Risk in Women: Study
  Heartening Drop in Diabetes Complications Seen Among Seniors
  Keep the Holidays Merry for Kids With Diabetes
  Diabetes Drugs Affect Hearts of Men, Women Differently
  Diabetes Drug Metformin Tied to Slight Weight Loss in Obese Kids
  Study: Kids With ADHD, Aggression May Benefit From 2nd Med
  Mediterranean Diet Alone May Lower Diabetes Risk
  Farxiga Approved for Type 2 Diabetes
  As Weight Rises in People With Diabetes, So Does Death Risk: Study
  Smartphone Apps for Diabetes: Do They Really Work?
  Type 2 Diabetes Is Often a Family Affair
  Adults With Diabetes Need a Flu Shot: Experts
  Experimental 'Implanted Insulin' Device Seeks to Control Blood Sugar Levels
  Could Low-Fat Yogurt Help Ward Off Diabetes?
  Is Technology Creating a World of Sickly Couch Potatoes?
  Scientists Spot 7 New Regions of DNA Tied to Type 2 Diabetes
  Preemie Birth Linked to Higher Insulin Levels in Kids
  Obesity's Link to Type 2 Diabetes Not So Clear-Cut: Study
  Diabetes Boosts Stroke Risk for Women, But Not Men: Study
  Study Sees No Evidence Linking Diabetes Drugs With Pancreatic Cancer
  Elderly Diabetes Patients on Insulin Most Vulnerable to Low-Blood-Sugar Trouble
  Coordinated Care Helps Elderly With Chronic Diseases
  Diabetes in Middle Age May Cause Memory Problems Later
  Diabetes Tied to Higher Risk of Pancreatic Cancer in Study
  Moms Who Keep 'Baby Weight' May Risk Heart Trouble
  Take Heart: Mediterranean Diet Combats Type 2 Diabetes, Study Says
  More Evidence Weight-Loss Surgery Helps People With Diabetes
  Diabetes Treatment Falls Short as Heart Failure Drug in Study
  Exercise, Diet May Help 'Pre-Diabetics' Dodge Heart Disease Death
  Childhood Obesity Adds Nearly $20K to Lifetime Medical Costs: Study
  Obesity-Related Enzyme Targeted in Mouse Study
  A Doctor's 'People Skills' Affects Patients' Health
  Clues to Type 2 Diabetes Discovered on Mount Everest
  Nearly 10 Percent of U.S. Adults Now Have Diabetes: Study
  FDA Approves New Type 2 Diabetes Drug
  Diabetes Complication Rates Drop Among U.S. Adults
  Low Blood Sugar May Affect Heartbeat in People With Diabetes
  Could More Coffee Lower Your Odds for Diabetes?
  Type 2 Diabetes May Shrink the Brain, Study Suggests
  Kids' Diabetes Rates Up Dramatically in 8 Years, Study Finds
  Ultrasound Trumps CT Scan for Diagnosing Kidney Stones in Study
  Obesity Crisis Has Scaled Even the Himalayas
  Diabetics Fare Worse After Heart Surgery, Study Finds
  1 in 10 Heart Attack Patients May Have Undiagnosed Diabetes
  Diabetes Drug May Spur Weight Loss in Obese Nondiabetics
  Sleep Apnea May Raise Risk of Diabetes, Research Suggests
  Gene May Boost Chances of Type 2 Diabetes for Latinos
  Insulin Use, Out-of-Pocket Costs Way Up for Type 2 Diabetes
  Insulin-Metformin Combo Tied to Poorer Survival in Diabetes Study
  Blacks May Respond Better Than Whites to Diabetes Drug Metformin
  Diabetes Distress Is Distinct From Depression, Researchers Say
  U.S. Health Snapshots: Insurance Coverage Expands, but Gaps Remain
  Shortage of Doctors Who Treat Diabetes Looming
  Saliva Test Might Someday Replace Needle Prick for Diabetics
  FDA Approves Inhaled Diabetes Medication
  Insulin Pumps May Outperform Daily Injections for Type 2 Diabetes: Study
Adult Diseases and Conditions
  Alcohol Use and People with Diabetes
  Overview of Clinical Complications of Diabetes
  Healthy Cooking Tips for People with Diabetes
  Diagnosing Diabetes
  Facts About Diabetes
  Diabetes and High Blood Pressure
  Diabetes and Heart Disease
  Home Page - Diabetes
  Meal Planning
  Online Resources - Diabetes
  Diabetes and Periodontal (Gum) Disease
  Topic Index - Diabetes
  Sodium and People with Diabetes
  Diabetes Statistics
  Treatment and Management of Diabetes
  Forms of Diabetes
  Traveling with Diabetes
  Impotence/Erectile Dysfunction
  Diabetes (Type 1, 2, and Gestational)
  Treatment of Diabetes
Newsletters
  Good Blood Sugar Control Vital for Wound Healing
  Diabetes Rates Have Nearly Doubled
Pediatric Diseases and Conditions
  Adolescents and Diabetes Mellitus
  Overview of Diabetes Mellitus
  Diet and Diabetes
  Online Resources - Diabetes and Other Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
  Type 2 Diabetes in Children
  Diabetes and Pregnancy
  Pregnancy and Medical Conditions