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Type 2 Diabetes: An Overview on How It Develops and Manifests

overweight diabetic man

Story at-a-glance -

  • Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition wherein your blood sugar levels are high due to insulin resistance, leading to various symptoms and complications
  • The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are not readily apparent and will only gradually develop over time, sometimes over a period of several years

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition wherein your blood sugar levels are high due to insulin resistance, leading to various symptoms and complications.1 If not managed properly, it can be life-threatening. However, there’s a chance that the condition can be reversed if proper management and positive lifestyle choices are made before it’s too late.2

Type 2 Diabetes Begins With Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a hormone secreted from the pancreas to help digest sugars from carbohydrates in the food you eat. Depending on the need, it can be immediately burned for energy or stored for later use. Insulin also helps maintain your blood sugar levels in a healthy range to prevent diabetes from occurring.3

However, if you have Type 2 diabetes, insulin doesn’t work properly to your body’s benefit. Your cells are not able to absorb the sugar that comes from your food, leaving it stranded in your bloodstream. As a result, your pancreas secretes more insulin to compensate, but cannot keep up with demand. Eventually, your cells develop insulin resistance.4

There are many risk factors that may make you more predisposed to developing type 2 diabetes. If any of the following applies to you, make sure that you adjust your lifestyle accordingly to minimize the risk:5

  • Weight — Obesity, or being overweight, is a top risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. A large amount of body fat makes your cells more resistant to insulin. Bear in mind, you don’t need to have excess weight to develop diabetes.
  • Fat distribution — Aside from obesity, fat distribution plays a role in the development of diabetes. A large collection of body fat in the abdomen increases your risk of this disease compared to fat deposits in other places of your body.
  • Inactivity — Getting little exercise contributes to weight gain. It also prevents your body from using its excess glucose stores.
  • Family history — If your parents have diabetes, there’s also a chance that you may get it. It is believed the disease has a hereditary factor, but remember that your lifestyle choices play a role as well.
  • Age — The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes significantly increases as you age, especially once you reach the age of 45. This is usually attributed to getting less exercise and more weight gain. However, children, adolescents and young adults may still develop it.
  • Prediabetes — Prediabetes is a condition wherein your blood sugar is higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered diabetes. If untreated, it can progress to true Type 2 diabetes.
  • Ethnicity — Certain ethnicities are more susceptible to developing diabetes. African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asian-Americans are the groups who have an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes compared to others.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome — Women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome are more predisposed to developing Type 2 diabetes.
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10 Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes You Should Not Ignore

The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are not readily apparent and will only gradually develop over time, sometimes over a period of several years. That being said, it’s important to be educated on what the actual symptoms are (should they appear) so that you can get proper treatment right away. Things to look out for include:6

  • Fatigue — You may feel immediately tired, especially after eating meals.
  • Hunger — You often feel hungry. You may even still feel hungry after eating a meal.
  • Frequent urination — If you find yourself urinating more often, especially during the night, you may have Type 2 diabetes.
  • Thirst — Type 2 diabetes causes you to feel more thirsty than usual. This symptom often goes hand in hand with frequent urination.
  • Blurred vision — Your vision may gradually become blurry and you may find it harder to focus on your surroundings.
  • Itchiness — Type 2 diabetes typically causes itchiness, especially around the genitals.
  • Healing Problems — Wounds and cuts may take longer to heal than usual.
  • Skin conditions — Aside from itchiness, Type 2 diabetes can cause skin disorders to appear, such as psoriasis.
  • Microbial infections — Women may have recurrent yeast infections.
  • Weight loss — You may notice you’re slowly losing weight even if you haven’t made changes to your diet.

Learn How to Manage and Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a preventable condition if you consistently adhere to healthy lifestyle choices. But if you already have this condition, don’t lose hope because it is nearly 100 percent curable, as long as you start taking control of your health right now.

The key to handling diabetes is controlling your blood sugar levels through positive changes such as getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet that won’t cause a spike in your sugar levels.7 In the following pages, you’ll learn how to do just that, along with how to detect Type 2 diabetes and if you’re at risk of developing it.

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