Type II Diabetes Q & A
What is Type II diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can begin during childhood and adulthood. Type 2 is more common in older adults. But the increase in the number of children with obesity has led to more cases of type 2 diabetes in younger people.
There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes. Losing weight, eating well and exercising can help manage the disease. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to control blood sugar, diabetes medications or insulin therapy may be recommended.
Type II diabetes is a chronic condition that occurs when your body fails to use insulin properly. If you have Type II diabetes, your body resists the effects of insulin, or it doesn’t produce enough. Insulin is a critical hormone that helps regulate blood sugar. If your blood sugar levels continue to rise, you’re more likely to experience heart disease or other serious health problems.
At Ally Endocrinology, the team believes that Type 2 diabetes is both a cardiac disease and a metabolic disease. They primarily focus on cardiac health to prevent heart attacks and strokes in patients.
What is prediabetes?
Prediabetes means your pancreas is resistant to insulin, but your blood sugar levels aren’t high enough to have Type II diabetes (T2D). If you have prediabetes, it’s possible to reverse the symptoms through healthy lifestyle changes and routine checkups.
What are the symptoms of Type II diabetes?
Type II diabetes usually develops slowly over an extended period. Common symptoms include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Unintended weight loss
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing sores
- Frequent infections
As Type II diabetes gets worse, you might also notice skin discoloration, especially under your armpits or neck.
You can develop T2D at any age, even during childhood. However, type 2 diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are age 45 or older, have a family history of diabetes, or are overweight or have obesity. Diabetes is more common in people who are African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
Physical inactivity and certain health problems such as high blood pressure affect your chances of developing type 2 diabetes. You are also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant. Learn more about risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
What causes Type II diabetes?
Researchers aren’t entirely sure what causes Type II diabetes, but it’s thought that genetics and certain environmental factors play a role. You’re more likely to experience Type II diabetes if you’re overweight or live a primarily sedentary lifestyle. Other factors that increase your risk of Type II diabetes include having polycystic ovarian syndrome and being over the age of 45.
How is Type II diabetes diagnosed?
To diagnose Type II diabetes, the team at Ally Endocrinology reviews your medical history, conducts a physical exam, and asks about your lifestyle and symptoms.
They then order lab work, including a glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. An A1C test measures your average blood sugar level over the past few months. Any result of 6.5% on two separate tests means you have diabetes.
If you have an uncommon type of hemoglobin –– a protein found in red blood cells –– the team might recommend additional screens like a random blood sugar test, a fasting blood sugar test, or an oral glucose tolerance test.
How is Type II diabetes treated?
Treatment of Type II diabetes depends on the severity of insulin resistance and the symptoms you’re experiencing. Typically, the team at Ally Endocrinology recommends healthy lifestyle changes like exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a balanced diet. You might also benefit from prescription medication or insulin therapy.
Ultimately, the goal of treatment is to help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar is within the optimal range, you’re much less likely to experience complications. To ensure your blood sugar stays within a healthy range, you use a glucose meter. A glucose meter is a digital device that uses a drop of blood to assess your blood sugar levels.
Managing your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol, and quitting smoking if you smoke, are important ways to manage your type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle changes that include planning healthy meals, limiting calories if you are overweight, and being physically active are also part of managing your diabetes. So is taking any prescribed medicines. Work with your health care team to create a diabetes care plan that works for you.
To learn more about treatment for Type 2 diabetes, request a consultation at Ally Endocrinology. Book online to schedule an appointment or call the nearest office today.
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