What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a serious lifelong condition. It develops when your insulin producing cells can’t produce enough insulin or the insulin you produce doesn’t work properly (called insulin resistance). This leads to high blood sugar levels.
If left untreated high blood sugar levels can cause serious health complications.
You may not have obvious signs particularly in the early stages but you may notice:
- Going to the toilet more often especially in the night
- Feeling more tired
- Losing weight without trying
- Genital itching or thrush
- Cuts and wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
It’s a combination of lifestyle and genes that put you at risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Things that increase your risk include:
Age: If you are over 25 years of age
Weight: If you are overweight particularly around your belly.
Ethnicity: We as Indians are highly susceptible.
Family link: If you have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes.
Previous medical history: If you have a history of high blood pressure, heart attacks or strokes, gestational diabetes or severe mental illness.
There are three main treatments:
- Healthy eating, being physically active and keeping to a healthy weight.
- Medication – tablets and injections which may include insulin.
- Weight loss surgery (bariatric surgery).
People with Type 2 diabetes are likely to be on a combination of these treatments. Everyone’s different and it takes a while to find out what works best for you. But most people will need to make lifestyle changes – things like eating more healthily and being more active, and losing weight if you are overweight.
Your treatment may well change over time – either the type of medication or the dose.
Make A Difference
The good news is that you can minimize the effects the effects of Type 2 diabetes on you. The main ways you can do this are by:
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Being as active as you can
- Avoid putting on extra weight and try losing excess weight
- Setting yourself goals to improve your health
- Taking your medication as prescribed
- Visiting doctors for consultation as recommended
What’s the difference between type 1 and type 2?
Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes are caused by different mechanisms and managed differently.
Type 1 develops when insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed. It’s more common in younger people, particularly children. It’s treated with insulin (either with injections or a pump), a healthy diet and by being active.
You would have developed type 2 because, even though you can make insulin, you don’t make enough. Or the insulin you do make doesn’t work properly. It tends to develop in older people. It’s treated with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and quite often medications are needed.
Can children get type 2 diabetes?
It’s true that more children are developing type 2 diabetes mainly because of the epidemic of obesity on the rise in the children population.
Is Type 2 diabetes serious?
The truth is, yes, it can be. The complications can be serious but with the right care and good control of blood sugars you can reduce the risk of complications.
Is there a cure?
At the moment there isn’t a permanent cure for Type 2 diabetes. But there is some evidence that shows some people can put their type 2 diabetes into remission through weight loss (either by following a very low calorie diet under medical supervision, or through surgery).