Type 2 diabetes
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. This chronic disease most often starts in adulthood around age 40.
People with diabetes have elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels, which damage the body over time if left untreated. In people with type 2 diabetes, this is because the insulin in the pancreas does not work properly (insulin resistance) or the pancreas does not make enough insulin. Insulin allows the glucose in the blood to enter cells and fuel our bodies.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
Genetic factors and age can play a role, but in most cases type 2 diabetes can be prevented. A healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, a healthy diet and without smoking can decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes considerably.
How is type 2 diabetes diagnosed?
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed via a blood test. Symptoms develop more slowly than in type 1 diabetes and are less pronounced, making it harder to diagnose. Many people do not know they have type 2 diabetes and the diagnosis is often accidental.
What are the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is often asymptomatic in its early stages.
Symptoms can include:
- Frequent urination
- Intractable infection, vision loss
Type 2 diabetes affects many major organs, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Also, factors that increase the risk of diabetes are risk factors for other serious chronic diseases.
Potential complications of diabetes and frequent comorbidities include:
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Nerve damage (neuropathy) in limbs
- Kidney disease
- Eye damage
- Skin conditions
- Slow healing
- Hearing impairment
- Sleep apnoea
How is type 2 diabetes treated?
Type 2 diabetes is managed with a combination of medication, insulin administration, exercise, carb counting and a healthy diet.
There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but some people can put their diabetes into remission. This means that blood sugar levels are healthy, and they do not need to take medication.