About 90 to 95% of people with diabetes have type 2, the most common form. This type used to be called adult-onset diabetes since it usually started in adults. That situation is changing as more and more children and teens are being diagnosed with Type 2.
Cause of type 2
The hormone insulin is the key that unlocks the cells so that the glucose can enter and be used as fuel. As you develop type 2 diabetes, your cells become increasingly resistant to the action of insulin. By the time type 2 is diagnosed, your pancreas is usually producing enough insulin, but for unknown reasons, the cells in your muscles, liver and fat cannot use the insulin effectively. After several years, insulin production decreases. Glucose builds up in the blood while the cells are starved for energy.
Over the years, high blood glucose damages nerves and blood vessels, leading to complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, nerve problems, gum infections, and amputation
Symptoms of type 2
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes develop gradually and can be so subtle that they are easy to miss in the early stages of the disease.
If you are over 45 and/or have any of the following symptoms, talk to your Riverside primary care doctor about a simple blood test to check for diabetes. Catching the disease early can limit the damage it does to your body.
Look for these symptoms:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination. These are the classic symptoms of diabetes. When you have diabetes, excess sugar (glucose) builds up in your blood. Your kidneys are forced to work overtime to filter and absorb the excess glucose. If your kidneys can't keep up, the excess sugar is excreted into your urine along with fluids drawn from your tissues. This triggers more frequent urination, which may leave you dehydrated. As you drink more fluids to quench your thirst, you'll urinate even more.
- Increased hunger. Without enough insulin to move sugar into your cells, your muscles and organs become depleted for energy. This triggers intense hunger.
- Weight loss. Despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger, you may lose weight. Without the ability to use glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat. Calories are lost as excess glucose is released in the urine.
- Fatigue. If your cells are deprived of the sugar they need for energy or you are dehydrated from increased urination, you may become tired and irritable. Fatigue is described often as a tiredness that cannot be relieved by rest.
- Blurred vision. If your blood sugar is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes. This may affect your ability to focus clearly.
- Slow-healing sores or frequent infections. It has been observed that infections are more common in people with Type 2 diabetes.
- Areas of darkened skin. Some people with type 2 diabetes have patches of dark, velvety skin in the folds and creases of their bodies — usually in the armpits and neck. This condition, called acanthosis nigricans, may be a sign of insulin resistance.
- Tingling hands and feet. Excess sugar in your blood can lead to nerve damage. You may notice tingling and loss of sensation in your hands and feet, as well as burning pain in your arms, hands, legs and feet.
Red, swollen or tender gums. Diabetes may weaken your ability to fight germs, which increases the risk of infection in your gums and in the bones that hold your teeth in place. Your gums may pull away from your teeth, your teeth may become loose, or you may develop sores or pockets of pus in your gums — especially if you have a gum infection before diabetes develops.
If you notice any possible diabetes symptoms, contact your doctor. The earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner treatment and management of the disease can begin.
Risk Factors for type 2
It is not fully understood why some people develop type 2 diabetes and others do not. There are certain risk factors that increase your chances of developing the disease, some of which you can control such as activity levels and others you cannot.
In addition to risk factors there are other health conditions often associated with diabetes especially when you are also overweight.
These conditions are:
These conditions are:
High blood pressure
- High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol
- Low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol
- High levels of triglycerides, another fat in the blood
If you have any of the following risk factors, talk to your Riverside family doctor about getting tested for diabetes.
Being older. Your risk starts increasing after age 45. 23% of people ages 60 or older have diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents, however.
Obesity. About 80% of diabetics are overweight. The more fatty tissue you have, the more resistant your cells become to insulin.
- Being physically inactive. Not only does physical activity help you control your weight, but also it uses up the glucose in your blood as energy. When you exercise, your cells also become more sensitive to insulin.
- Family history of diabetes. If you have a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes, your risk is greater for developing it yourself.
- Ethnicity. For unknown reasons, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, and some Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians or Other Pacific Islanders are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes
- Gestational diabetes. If you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds, your risk of developing diabetes later increases.
Polycystic ovary syndrome. For women, having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes.
- Guide to Type 2 Diabetes