Type 2 Diabetes
Symptoms and treatment for type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a condition in which the body either can't produce or can't process insulin, and thus can't regulate blood sugar levels. There are two main types of diabetes—type 1 and type 2.
Of the two, type 2 diabetes is by far the most common. It is also known as adult-onset diabetes as it's more common in people over 30, while type 1 diabetes is more common in children. It's not known exactly what causes type 2 diabetes, but family history, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, age and being overweight have all been identified as type 2 diabetes risk factors.
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Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
The list of type 2 diabetes symptoms is long, but many people who have the condition don't experience them for years, until the condition becomes more serious. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include (but are not limited to):
- Diabetic foot problems, such as numbness or ulcers
- Dry skin
- Bladder infections and frequent urination
- Unusual hunger and thirst
- Slow healing
Along with symptoms, there are complications associated with type 2 diabetes. These include glucose toxicity, damage to nerves and blood vessels, and hardening of the arteries (stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart disease are strongly linked). It's important to see a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms or believe you are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Finally, learn to recognize the symptoms of a change in blood glucose levels—these include irritability, clamminess, shakiness and nausea.
Type 2 Diabetes Treatment
For sufferers of type 2 diabetes, blood sugar levels are the key issue—the goal is to learn to keep levels in the normal range at all times. Treatment generally includes a prescription of medication and lifestyle changes that can help manage and reverse diabetes (type 2 diabetes typically responds well to these treatment paths).
Medications that can help lower blood sugar levels include acarbose, sulfonylureas and meglitinides. These medications will generally be used only if necessary, and are always prescribed in combination with lifestyle changes like exercising more, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol and adhering to a type 2 diabetes meal plan that can help keep blood sugar levels in check.