Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a long-term condition in which one’s body does not produce or distribute insulin properly. More specifically, the condition negatively affects the way one’s body processes blood sugar at large.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin… your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.”
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Individuals aged 45 and older are most susceptible to type 2 diabetes; however, recent data suggests type 2 diabetes is revealing itself in more children, teens, and young adults.
Specialists believe a combination of factors can contribute to type 2 diabetes in one individual over time. There is no exact cause of the condition. Those at risk to type 2 diabetes may:
- Have high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- Have a genetic predisposition to diabetes or a family history relating to the condition
- Have prediabetes
- Be older in age
- Be overweight or considered medically obese
- Have high levels of body fat
- Smoke or use tobacco
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes typically develop over a significant amount of time. Studies suggest one can be living with the condition for years and not be aware of it. Signs of type 2 diabetes may include:
- Heightened hunger
- Heightened thirst
- Frequent urination
- Frequent infections
- Numbness or tingling sensations in the hands or feet
- Blurred vision
Your primary care physician will guide you through an initial diagnosis. If the primary care physician cannot accomplish this based on the resources available, he or she may refer you to an endocrinologist. To maintain the condition, you may also be referred to a dietician, a podiatrist, or an ophthalmologist.
An endocrinologist is a physician that specializes in assessing, diagnosing, and treating any disease related to the body’s hormones or hormonal glands. These specialists study the communication and relationships between the different systems and hormones throughout the body. Type 2 diabetes develops when the pancreas, a gland, has trouble producing insulin, a hormone, to regulate blood sugar. Therefore, an endocrinologist can provide appropriate treatment based on one’s particular condition.
Additionally, a registered dietician (a food and nutrition expert who has met academic and professional requirements to guide balanced dietary lifestyles), a podiatrist (a physician skilled in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of conditions regarding the foot, ankle, and lower extremity), or an ophthalmologist (a physician skilled in diagnosing and treating poor vision or eye diseases) may offer supplementary treatment.
Based on your unique symptoms and other preexisting medical conditions, a medical expert can diagnose your condition. To diagnose type 2 diabetes, a medical professional will typically conduct an A1C test, a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), or a random plasma glucose test.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “The A1C test measures your average blood sugar for the past two to three months.” Those participating will not have to refrain from eating or drinking before the test. Diabetes is diagnosed at an A1C of greater than or equal to 6.5%.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “This test checks your fasting blood sugar levels.” Participants may not have anything to eat or drink (except water) for at least 8 hours before the test. Diabetes is diagnosed at fasting blood sugar of greater than or equal to 126 mg/dl.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “The OGTT is a two-hour test that checks your blood sugar levels before and two hours after you drink a special sweet drink.” The OGTT tells the physician how one’s body processes sugar. Diabetes is diagnosed at two-hour blood sugar of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl.
According to the American Diabetes Association, “This test is a blood check at any time of the day when you have severe diabetes symptoms. Diabetes is diagnosed at blood sugar of greater than or equal to 200 mg/dl.”
If diagnosed, you will be provided with more information regarding the current stage of your type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes requires some form of treatment to manage the condition over time. Your physician will recommend appropriate treatment which may include (but is not limited to):
- Statin medication (atorvastatin, fluvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, rosuvastatin, simvastatin, etc.)
According to the American Heart Association, “Statins, also known as HMG CoA reductase inhibitors, works in the liver to prevent cholesterol from forming. This reduces the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. Statins are most effective at lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol. They also help lower triglycerides (blood fats) and raise HDL (good) cholesterol.”
- Medication (metformin, sulfonylureas, glinides, thiazolidinediones, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists, SGLT2 inhibitors, etc.)
- Insulin therapy (short-acting and long-acting insulin)
- Self-care (physical exercise, eliminate smoking or tobacco use, dietary monitoring, nutrition counseling, weight loss, etc.)