What Is Type 2 Diabetes: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

type 2 diabetes

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  • Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder caused by excess sugar in the blood
  • To confirm if you have Type 2 diabetes, several tests will need to be carried out to measure your blood glucose levels

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder caused by excess sugar in the blood. It occurs when your pancreas cannot keep up with the demand of insulin throughout your body. This hormone plays a central role in the production of energy because it helps facilitate the transfer of sugar from the blood into your cells to fuel your daily activities.

If your body slowly becomes resistant to insulin, symptoms appear because the sugar stays in the blood.1,2

The Telltale Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes often come one by one or simultaneously. Be on the lookout for the following indicators, and contact a doctor immediately if you’ve been noticing them for an extended period of time:

  • Increased thirst and urination — Excess sugar in your bloodstream causes fluid to be pulled from the cells, leaving you thirstier. This makes you drink more water and in turn, urinate more than usual.
  • Increased hunger — Since sugar stays in your bloodstream longer, your cells do not get energy, leaving you hungrier.
  • Weight loss — While most people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, there’s a chance they may experience weight loss. That’s because the body won’t be able to metabolize the sugar, forcing it to use the energy stored up in the body fat and muscles.
  • Slow healing of wounds — Sugar in your bloodstream can damage blood vessels, making wounds or cuts take a longer time to heal.

Methods Used To Diagnose Type 2 Diabetes

To confirm if you have Type 2 diabetes, several tests will need to be carried out to measure your blood glucose levels. The types of tests include:3

  • A1C Test — This examination measures your average blood glucose levels in the past two to three months. If the result is 6.5 percent or higher, it is classified as true diabetes. A result of 5.7 to 6.4 percent indicates prediabetes.
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose — Also known as PCG, this test measures how your body manages sugar without any food in your stomach, except for water. If results indicate that your fasting blood glucose is 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl), you most likely have diabetes.
  • Oral Glucose Test — The goal of this test is to observe how your body immediately responds to consuming sugar after two hours. The doctor will make you drink a special sweetened drink and then record the results. A reading of 200 mg/dl or higher strongly suggests diabetes.
  • Random Plasma Glucose Test — This exam takes blood sugar readings at different times of the day. Results of 200 mg/dl or higher (no matter what you ate or anything else you did) indicate diabetes.

Living With Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong disease, but it can be managed and even reversed if you strictly implement healthy lifestyle changes. Eventually, your blood sugar levels will remain in a healthy range, minimizing your risk of developing complications. If you’ve been diagnosed with the disease, here are some healthy practices that you can implement:4

Consume a Healthy Diet — An unhealthy diet is often the cause of Type 2 diabetes. With that in mind, a healthy eating plan can help you reverse your condition. Your main priority should be dark leafy greens because they’re rich in fiber and antioxidants.

Low-fructose fruits such as berries and citruses, are also preferable.5 Healthy fats from avocados, coconut oil, grass fed butter and nuts are also ideal sources of fuel. It also goes without saying that you should avoid consuming high-sugar foods and beverages.

Stay Active — Getting daily exercise has long been recommended as a way to help lower insulin resistance among diabetics.6 Try to aim for a total of two and a half hours per week through various exercises such as climbing the stairs, running, swimming, strength training and biking.7

Maintain a Healthy Weight — Being overweight or obese is a major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes. While the exact causes are not entirely understood, experts believe that excess abdominal fat releases inflammatory chemicals that make your body more insulin resistant.8

If you are overweight, combining a nutritious diet and consistent exercise is key in helping you achieve weight loss, thereby helping lower your risk of complications associated with obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

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