Unraveling The Details Of Type 2 Diabetes: Symptoms And More

Doctor applying a continuous glucose monitor sensor on Type 2 Diabetes patient's arm

Type 2 Diabetes, being the most prevalent disorder, disrupts the body's ability to regulate blood sugar levels effectively, impacting both adults and increasingly younger populations due to shifting lifestyle patterns. Learn about the intricacies of the condition and the methods to manage it right.

Learning What Is Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that causes high blood sugar levels due to the body's inability to use insulin effectively. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream for energy. In Type 2 Diabetes, either the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin or the body's cells become resistant to insulin's effects, leading to elevated blood glucose levels. Unlike Type 1 Diabetes, which occurs early in life and requires insulin therapy, Type 2 Diabetes develops in adults over 45. Still, it is increasingly seen in younger populations due to rising obesity rates.

Also Read: What Is Diabetes? Tips To Prevent The Causes Of Diabetes

Variety of Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes: Insulin-Producing Beta Cells Destroyed

This autoimmune condition occurs when the body's immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. People with Type 1 Diabetes require lifelong insulin therapy to manage their blood sugar levels. This type is usually diagnosed in children and young adults and is less common than Type 2 Diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes: Inadequate Insulin Production

Type 2 Diabetes results from insulin resistance and inadequate insulin production. It is closely associated with lifestyle factors such as poor diet, physical inactivity, and obesity. While it can be managed with lifestyle changes and oral medications, some individuals may eventually require insulin therapy.

Gestational Diabetes: Happens During Pregnancy

This form of diabetes develops during pregnancy and resolves after childbirth. Women who develop gestational diabetes are at higher risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life. Proper management is crucial to avoid complications for both mother and baby.

Recognizing the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Increased Thirst: Excess glucose in the blood forces the kidneys to work harder to filter and absorb it, leading to dehydration and increased thirst.
  2. Frequent Urination: The kidneys' efforts to expel excess glucose cause urination to become more frequent, especially at night.
  3. Unexplained Weight Loss: Despite eating normally, individuals with Type 2 Diabetes may lose weight because their bodies aren't using glucose efficiently.
  4. Extreme Hunger: The body's cells aren't receiving enough glucose, triggering intense hunger signals.
  5. Fatigue: Individuals feel unusually tired and lethargic without sufficient glucose for energy.
  6. Blurred Vision: High blood sugar levels can cause the eyes' lenses to swell, leading to temporary blurred vision.
  7. Slow-Healing Sores: High blood sugar impairs blood flow and affects the body's natural healing process.
  8. Frequent Infections: Elevated blood sugar levels decrease bacterial and fungal growth, leading to frequent infections, particularly in the gums, skin, and urinary tract.
  9. Darkened Skin Patches (Acanthosis Nigricans): Areas of darkened skin, particularly in body creases like the neck and armpits, are signs of insulin resistance.
  10. Tingling or Numbness in Hands or Feet: High blood sugar levels can damage nerves, leading to tingling, numbness, or pain in the extremities.

Uncovering the Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Insulin Resistance: The body's cells become resistant to insulin's effects, requiring the pancreas to produce more insulin to help glucose enter cells.
  2. Genetic Factors: A family history of diabetes increases the likelihood of developing the condition, suggesting a genetic predisposition.
  3. Obesity: Excess body fat, particularly around the abdomen, contributes to insulin resistance. Fat cells release pro-inflammatory chemicals that can disrupt insulin action.
  4. Metabolic Syndrome: This cluster of conditions, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a large waist circumference, increases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  5. Inactivity: Physical inactivity contributes to weight gain and insulin resistance. Regular exercise helps cells use insulin more efficiently, reducing the risk of diabetes.

Check This Out: 12 Best Herbal Supplements for Good Health and Well-Being

Identifying Risk Factors Of Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Age of Patient: The risk of Type 2 Diabetes increases after age 45, partly due to age-related metabolism and body composition changes.
  2. Family History: Having a parent or sibling with diabetes significantly raises the risk, indicating a genetic component.
  3. Ethnicity of Patient: African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians have higher rates of Type 2 Diabetes, possibly due to genetic and lifestyle factors.
  4. Gestational Diabetes History: Women who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.
  5. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Women with PCOS who suffer from hormonal imbalance are more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.

Learn More: How Does The Effect of Diabetes Change Your Body Function?

Potential Complications of Type 2 Diabetes

High blood sugar levels increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. Diabetes accelerates atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in artery walls. Prolonged high blood sugar can damage nerves, leading to diabetic neuropathy. This condition affects the legs and feet, causing pain, tingling, and loss of sensation. Diabetes can damage the kidneys' filtering system, leading to diabetic nephropathy. This condition can progress to kidney failure, necessitating dialysis or a kidney transplant. High blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the retina, leading to diabetic retinopathy. If untreated, this condition can cause blindness. Poor blood flow and nerve damage in the feet increase the risk of foot ulcers and infections. Severe cases may require amputation.

Diagnostic Methods Type 2 Diabetes

  1. A1C Test: The A1C test measures average blood glucose levels over the past 2-3 months. An A1C level of 6.5% or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes.
  2. Fasting Plasma Glucose Test (FPG): This test measures blood sugar levels after an overnight fast. A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes.
  3. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): The OGTT measures blood sugar levels before and after drinking a sugary liquid. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL or higher two hours after drinking the liquid indicates diabetes.
  4. Random Plasma Glucose Test: This test measures blood sugar levels at any time, regardless of when you last ate. A level of 200 mg/dL or higher suggests diabetes.
  5. Urine Test: While not diagnostic, urine tests can help detect ketones or other abnormalities that may indicate diabetes or its complications.

Progression of Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Insulin Resistance: The body's cells start becoming resistant to insulin without noticeable symptoms. This stage can last for years before progressing.
  2. Prediabetes: Blood sugar levels are higher than usual but not yet high enough for a diabetes diagnosis. Lifestyle changes at this stage can prevent the onset of diabetes.
  3. Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis: Blood sugar levels meet the criteria for diabetes. Diagnosis is made during routine screening or when symptoms become noticeable.
  4. Diabetes Management: This stage involves ongoing monitoring and treatment to manage blood sugar levels, including lifestyle changes, medications, and therapy.
  5. Diabetes-Related Complications: Long-term high blood sugar leads to issues, including cardiovascular disease, neuropathy, nephropathy, retinopathy, and foot damage.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes Treatments

Low glycemic testing & lancing devices with health food for diabetics

Adopting a healthy diet and regular exercise routine is crucial. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins helps manage blood sugar levels. Regular monitoring of blood glucose levels helps adjust diet, exercise, and medications to keep blood sugar within target ranges. Various oral or injectable medications can help manage blood sugar levels. These include metformin, sulfonylureas, and DPP-4 inhibitors. Some individuals may need insulin therapy if other medicines cannot control blood sugar levels. In some cases, bariatric surgery may be recommended for individuals with severe obesity to help manage diabetes.

Pharmacological Options For Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Metformin: The first medication prescribed, metformin reduces glucose production in the liver and improves insulin sensitivity.
  2. Sulfonylureas: These drugs stimulate the pancreas to release more insulin. Examples include glipizide and glyburide.
  3. DPP-4 Inhibitors: These medications help reduce blood sugar levels without causing hypoglycemia. Examples include sitagliptin and saxagliptin.
  4. GLP-1 Receptor Agonists: These drugs slow digestion and help lower blood sugar levels. Examples include exenatide and liraglutide.
  5. SGLT2 Inhibitors: These medications help the kidneys remove glucose from the bloodstream. Examples include canagliflozin and dapagliflozin.

Preventive Measures Type 2 Diabetes

Emphasize a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit intake of sugary and processed foods. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days. Physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and improves insulin sensitivity. Maintaining a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Even a modest weight loss can have significant health benefits. Early detection of prediabetes and diabetes through regular screening can lead to timely intervention and prevention of full-blown diabetes. Smoking increases the risk of diabetes and its complications. Quitting smoking improves overall health and reduces the risk of diabetes.


By understanding the appropriate treatments and preventive measures, you can take control of your health and reduce the impact of this chronic condition. Making informed lifestyle choices and staying proactive in your healthcare can significantly improve your quality of life. It can also reduce the risk of complications associated with Type 2 Diabetes. Timely measures can prevent the furthering of this disease.

© 2024 Copyrights - All Rights Reserved