Type 2 diabetes is a disease that causes high blood sugar levels. It is caused by insulin resistance and can be managed with lifestyle change and is the most common form of diabetes. Because of this it is important to know the disease symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes is not just a problem in adults; children are also at risk of developing it. Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications if left untreated, so it’s important to know the risk factors and to take steps towards prevention.
Factors that may increase your risk of type 2 diabetes include:
Weight. Being overweight or obese is a main risk.
Fat distribution. Storing fat mainly in your abdomen — rather than your hips and thighs — indicates a greater risk. Your risk of type 2 diabetes rises if you’re a man with a waist circumference above 40 inches (101.6 centimeters) or a woman with a measurement above 35 inches (88.9 centimeters).
Inactivity. The less active you are, the greater your risk. Physical activity helps control your weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more sensitive to insulin.
Family history. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parent or sibling has type 2 diabetes.
Race and ethnicity. Although it’s unclear why, people of certain races and ethnicities — including Black, Hispanic, Native American and Asian people, and Pacific Islanders — are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white people are.
Blood lipid levels. An increased risk is associated with low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol — the “good” cholesterol — and high levels of triglycerides.
Age. The risk of type 2 diabetes increases as you get older, especially after age 35.
Prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Left untreated, prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes.
Pregnancy-related risks. Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases if you developed gestational diabetes when you were pregnant or if you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms).
Polycystic ovary syndrome. Having polycystic ovary syndrome — a common condition characterized by irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth and obesity — increases the risk of diabetes
Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck. This condition often indicates insulin resistance.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. The most common complication of type 2 diabetes is cardiovascular disease which is the leading cause of death in people with type 2 diabetes. Other complications include retinopathy (eye disease), nephropathy (kidney problems), neuropathy (nerve damage) and other conditions like gastroparesis or chronic pain.
The treatment for type 2 diabetes includes lifestyle changes, medication, and in some cases, surgery. There are multiple treatment options available including oral and injectable medications.
Type 2 diabetes can be managed by eating healthy foods and being physically active. Testing can be done at home with a glucose meter or at a clinic with blood tests to measure blood sugar levels. If you have symptoms of type 2 diabetes, it is important to get tested as soon as possible so that you can start treatment early on before complications arise.