What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Millions of Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and many more are unaware they are at high risk. Most are over the age of forty, but the number of children and teens being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is on the rise.

In type 2 diabetes, either the body does not produce enough insulin, the body becomes resistant to normal or even high levels of insulin, or both. Insulin is necessary for the body to be able to use glucose for energy. When you eat food, your body breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is the basic fuel for cells in your body. Insulin takes the sugar from the blood into the cells. Diabetes complications occur when glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells.

Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include: a family history of diabetes, being overweight, not being very active, having had diabetes during pregnancy, having given birth to a baby over nine pounds and being over forty years old. Being of African American, Pacific Island, Hispanic or Native American descent also increase your risk.

Prior to a diagnosis, most people have no symptoms. Of those that do, symptoms include needing to urinate frequently, feeling thirsty and having blurred vision. To diagnosis type 2 diabetes, several blood tests are required to measure blood glucose levels.

Complications of type 2 diabetes include coronary heart disease, stroke, eye disease, kidney disease, and nerve disease (which can lead to amputation). These complications typically do not produce symptoms in the early stages and can be prevented and minimized with proper management of diabetes.

With education, physical activity, medication and monitoring you should be able to reduce your risk for health problems and successfully manage your type 2 diabetes. The Allen Diabetes Center can assist you on your way to healthy living. The Center has one of the largest diabetes education programs in Orange County and offers dietitians and educators certified for all major continuous glucose monitoring sensors (CGMS) and major insulin pumps. The Center also offers free educational and support classes for the community on topics including nutrition, cooking, exercise and psychosocial support. Our diabetes self-management classes or individual appointments will help patients learn to live successfully with diabetes by managing diet, physical activity and medications, all of which will help avoid complications and lead to a healthier life. Also, the Center offers its Sweet Success program to ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby, as it is essential to carefully manage diabetes during pregnancy.