Type 2 Diabetes

Insulin is an important hormone for metabolism. Food used as energy is converted into glucose, a sugar which is carried in the blood to your muscles and organs by insulin. Diabetes mellitus (diabetes, for short) is a condition in which there is not adequate production of insulin to control glucose levels in the blood. It afflicts millions of Americans and the numbers are growing. Many people with diabetes have not been tested, and do not realize they have it.  
Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a condition forming early in life where a person simply does not produce enough insulin to control glucose levels. To survive with type 1 diabetes, you must take insulin. 
Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes now accounts for 90% of diabetes cases. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age. In this case your body makes insulin, but it is not working properly. It is most common in older people, especially if they are overweight. Usually if you have type 2 diabetes you do not take insulin, but manage the problem with diet, exercise, and other medications. 
This is a special type that only happens to a woman during pregnancy, and usually goes away after your pregnancy ends. However, if you have had gestational diabetes, you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later.
If you have gestational diabetes, you must manage it carefully because it increases the risk of a high birth weight baby, and preeclampsia (high blood pressure late in pregnancy)
Type 1 diabetes is likely genetic, and there is no known way to prevent it. Type 2 diabetes is preventable in many people, however. Some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes are:
  • being overweight or obese
  • not exercising
  • family history - if others in your family have had diabetes
  • age - if you are over 45
  • race - if you are Hispanic, African American, Native American, Asian American or a Pacific Islander/Hawaiian
  • having had gestational diabetes, or having had a baby over 9 pounds
  • high cholesterol(over 240 mg/dL)
  • high blood pressure
  • a history of heart disease or stroke
  • polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is linked to hormone (including insulin) problems 
See your doctor if you have any of the following signs of diabetes:
  • being very thirsty and having to urinate often
  • feeling very hungry or tired a lot
  • losing weight for no known reason
  • having skin problems such as difficulty healing sores or dry, itchy skin
  • problems with vision or the feeling in your hands or feet       
Your doctor can tell if you have diabetes (or are getting close to having it) by testing your blood glucose levels. If you are over 45, you should have a glucose test every few years. If you also have any of the other risk factors listed above, you probably should get tested more often. 
If you have some of the symptoms listed above, you should get tested right away. If diabetes is not treated, it can lead to more serious conditions such as blindness, kidney disease, or high cholesterol that can result in cardiovascular disease.
Diabetes is not so much treated as managed. To maintain your health with diabetes:
  • eat a good diet with lots of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
  • get plenty of exercise
  • test your blood glucose regularly
  • limit sweets
  • take any medications as instructed
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