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What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Aug 11, 2008
Type 2 diabetes (also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or adult-onset diabetes) is the most common form of diabetes affecting around 90% of sufferers. It develops when your pancreas no longer produces sufficient insulin (the hormone which helps break blood sugar down for energy) or when your body's cells become resistant to insulin.

It is not known exactly what triggers type 2 diabetes but development begins when the cells in your body stop responding to insulin. This restricts your ability to convert blood sugar into energy so the pancreas and liver both respond by releasing extra insulin and glucose. If this happens for a prolonged period, your pancreas's insulin production capabilities become limited and your body's cells start to further resist insulin. This eventually leads to your blood sugar levels becoming excessively high and the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Since type 2 diabetes often develops gradually over time the symptoms are very difficult to spot. In many cases there are no symptoms at all and even when symptoms do unfold they are typically so mild that the sufferer does not notice them. However, if you notice any of the following symptoms (no matter how slight) you could have type 2 diabetes:

- Cuts or sores that heal slowly.
- Feelings of drowsiness.
- Greater hunger and thirst levels.
- Soreness in your legs.

To get tested for type 2 diabetes you need to go and see your doctor. They will then test your blood sugar levels to gauge whether you have diabetes. Two of the most popular tests are the fasting plasma glucose test (where you fast for eight hours and then have your blood sugar levels measured) and the oral glucose tolerance test (where you consume a sugary drink and then have your blood sugar levels measured). If either of these tests confirm that you have type 2 diabetes your doctor will be able to give you further advice on effectively managing your condition.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with a number of complications and can cause serious damage to your body if not managed properly. Poorly management of the disease can lead to hyperosmotic non-ketotic acidosis (a type of coma brought on by a lack of insulin), damage to your eyes, damage to your heart, nerve damage and more. Thankfully, the majority of these complications can be avoided by following your doctors advice and managing your diabetes properly.

Your doctor is likely to make a number of recommendations in this area. You will be advised to get a blood testing kit so that you can continually check your blood sugar levels. You may also be prescribed insulin injections depending upon the severity of your condition (approximately 40% of type 2 diabetics require additional insulin). However, in most cases changes to your diet and exercise routine will be enough. On the diet side you will be advised to cut down on salt, reduce your alcohol intake and eat more frequently throughout the day. For the exercise you will be advised to participate in 30 minutes or more of moderate intensity activity per day.

The development of type 2 diabetes is heavily linked with poor lifestyle choices. If you want to stop this condition from destroying your health then you need to listen to your doctor and start making the correct lifestyle choices today.

Whilst every intention has been made to make this article accurate and informative it is intended for general information only. Diabetes is a medical condition and this article is not intended as a substitute for the advice of your doctor or a qualified medical practitioner. If you have any concerns regarding type 2 or any other form of diabetes you should seek the advice of your doctor immediately.
About the Author
Tom Parker owns and operates a number of useful fitness resources and websites. The Free Fitness Tips blog provides you with fantastic, free advice on all aspects of fitness. For more detailed information on type 2 diabetes please visit the free Fitness Tips blog
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