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What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes mellitus. It is also known as adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin dependent diabetes, in a reference to two of its frequent distinguishing characteristics. Like type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is not curable, but it can be managed with the assistance of a doctor and some work on the part of the patient. Being diagnosed with the condition can be frightening, but a doctor should be able to refer patients to support groups and other forms of assistance so that they can cope with the condition.

Diabetes mellitus is a condition which is caused by a lack of insulin production in the body, or an inability to process insulin properly. Insulin is the compound which allows sugar to be absorbed and used by the body. Without insulin, sugar builds up in the bloodstream, starving the cells of energy and potentially leading to serious medical problems such as blindness, kidney failure, nervous system problems, and heart attacks. Because this condition can become fatal, patients should not ignore the symptoms and risk factors of diabetes. Pets are also susceptible, so responsible pet owners should keep an eye on the health of their companion animals as well.

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In the case of type 2 diabetes, the onset of diabetes tends to be slow, which can make it difficult to identify. Some common symptoms include lethargy, hunger, thirst, and frequent urination. A doctor can perform a test to determine whether the cause of these problems is diabetes. Fortunately for patients, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through diet and exercise, especially among at risk groups.

It appears that Native Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and people of Asian or African descent may be more at risk for type 2 diabetes than others. These individuals seem to have genetic precursors for the disease, which can be activated by inactivity or excessive food consumption. For these reasons, at risk individuals need to be especially careful to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and see a doctor for frequent checkups. If the condition is identified early, it is much more treatable.

A mild case of type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with diet and exercise. Prescription medications may also be used to address the condition. In more severe cases, supplemental insulin may be needed, making the term “noninsulin dependent” diabetes a bit of a misnomer. In all cases, it is important to receive regular medical care from a trusted provider to treat the condition and identify potentially serious problems before they become unmanageable.

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Discuss this Article

Animandel
Post 3

@Laotionne - I think that is a myth. The simple act of eating a lot of sugar isn't going to cause diabetes type 1 or diabetes type 2, but the extra calories can lead to weight gain and people who are overweight are at a greater risk for getting the disease. However, eating too much of any food can cause you to gain weight, so it doesn't have to be sweets that you are eating.

However, as a precaution, I do limit the amount of sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices that my children drink. These drinks are loaded with sugar and more importantly with calories. Getting into habit of drinking high-calorie drinks when you are young can lead to problems later when your metabolism slows and you become less active.

Drentel
Post 2

@Laotionne - I had been really active for most of my life. I played sports from the time I was a young kid to I was well into my 30s. Then when my mother got sick I had to start spending a lot of time taking care of her and my father. I was also working, and I am a small business owner so there were not enough hours in the day for me to get all of the things done that I needed to get done.

Because of the lack of time, I stopped working out and exercising regularly, and I also got into some really bad eating habits. I was eating a lot of fast food, and snacking

between meals -- not healthy snacking.

I began to notice funny sensations in my feet. I had no idea what was causing this, but I was putting on weight, so I thought maybe I needed to work out more to get my circulation going. Anyway, during a physical examination at the doctor's office they discovered that my blood sugar levels were elevated.

I had never had a problem with this before, and there was not a problem in my immediate family with diabetes. The doctor told me that the combination of stress created from caring for my parents and the bad exercise and eating habits I had fallen into might have triggered the rise in blood sugar.

Laotionne
Post 1

I have heard that diabetes types 1 and diabetes type 2 can be caused by eating large amounts of sugar over long periods. Is there any truth to this?

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