type 2 diabetes definition
What is insulin?
Blood glucose from food is your body’s main source of fuel, but your body needs insulin to make use of it. Insulin is a hormone-like chemical signal – released by your pancreas when you eat.
Insulin helps move glucose from food into your body’s cells where it can be used as energy. Without insulin, your body can not absorb glucose and it stays in your bloodstream.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes mainly from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose get into your cells to be used for energy. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Too much glucose then stays in your blood, and not enough reaches your cells.
The good news is that you can take steps to prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes
What are the symptoms of diabetes?
Symptoms of diabetes include
- increased thirst and urination
- increased hunger
- feeling tired
- blurred vision
- numbness or tingling in the feet or hands
- sores that do not heal
- unexplained weight loss
But kids or teens who develop type 2 diabetes may:
Need to pee a lot. The kidneys respond to high levels of glucose in the blood by flushing out the extra glucose in urine (pee). Kids with high blood sugar levels need to pee more often and make more pee.
Drink a lot of liquids. Because they’re peeing so often and losing so much fluid, they can become very thirsty and drink a lot in an attempt to keep the levels of body water normal.
Feel tired often. This is because the body can’t use glucose for energy properly.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly—over the course of several years—and can be so mild that you might not even notice them. Many people have no symptoms. Some people do not find out they have the disease until they have diabetes-related health problems, such as blurred vision or heart disease.
Diet for type 2 diabetes
Diet is an important tool to keep your heart healthy and blood sugar levels within a safe and healthy range. It doesn’t have to be complicated or unpleasant. The diet recommended for people with type 2 diabetes is the same diet just about everyone should follow. It boils down to a few key actions:
- Eat meals and snacks on schedule.
- Choose a variety of foods that are high in nutrition and low in empty calories.
- Be careful not to overeat.
- Read food labels closely.
Foods to choose
Healthy carbohydrates can provide you with fiber. The options include:
- legumes, such as beans
- whole grains
Foods with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids include:
You can get healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from a number of foods, including:
- olive oil
- canola oil
- peanut oil
Although these options for fat are good for you, they’re high in calories. Moderation is key. When choosing dairy products, choose low-fat options.
Foods to avoid
There are certain foods that you should limit or avoid entirely. These include:
- foods heavy in saturated fats
- foods heavy in trans fats
- processed meats
- organ meats, such as beef or liver
- stick margarine
- baked goods
- processed snacks
- sugary drinks
- high-fat dairy products
- salty foods
- fried foods
Treatment for type 2 diabetes
You can effectively manage type 2 diabetes. Your doctor will tell you how often you should check your blood glucose levels. The goal is to stay within a specific range.
Follow these tips to manage type 2 diabetes:
Include foods rich in fiber and healthy carbohydrates in your diet. Eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help keep your blood glucose levels steady.
Eat at regular intervals
Only eat until you’re full.
Control your weight and keep your heart healthy. That means keeping refined carbohydrates, sweets, and animal fats to a minimum.
Get about half an hour of aerobic activity daily to help keep your heart healthy. Exercise helps to control blood glucose, too.
Your doctor will explain how to recognize the early symptoms of blood sugar that’s too high or too low and what to do in each situation. Your doctor will also help you learn which foods are healthy and which foods aren’t.
Not everyone with type 2 diabetes needs to use insulin. If you do, it’s because your pancreas isn’t making enough insulin on its own. It’s crucial that you take insulin as directed. There are other prescription medications that may help as well.
Medications for type 2 diabetes
In some cases, lifestyle changes are enough to keep type 2 diabetes under control. If not, there are several medications that may help. Some of these medications are:
- metformin, which can lower your blood sugar levels and improve how your body responds to insulin
- sulfonylureas, which help your body make more insulin
- meglitinides or glinides, which are fast-acting, short-duration medications that stimulate your pancreas to release more insulin
- thiazolidinediones, which make your body more sensitive to insulin
- dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, which are milder medications that help reduce blood sugar levels
- glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, which slow digestion and improve blood sugar levels
- sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, which help prevent the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood and sending it out in your urine
Each of these medications can cause side effects. It may take some time to find the best medication or combination of medications to treat your diabetes.
If your blood pressure or cholesterol levels are a problem, you may need medications to address those needs as well.
Type 2 diabetes in children
Type 2 diabetes in children is a growing problem. According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately 208,000 Americans under age 20 have diabetes.
The reasons for this are complex, but risk factors include:
- being overweight, or having a body mass index above the 85th percentile
- having a birth weight of 9 pounds or more
- being born to a mother who had diabetes while she was pregnant
- having a close family member with type 2 diabetes
- having a sedentary lifestyle
- being American Indian, Alaska Native, African-American, Asian-American, Latino, or Pacific Islander
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes in children include:
- excessive thirst
- excessive hunger
- increased urination
- sores that are slow to heal
- frequent infections
- blurry vision
- areas of darkened skin
See your child’s doctor immediately if your child has symptoms of diabetes. Untreated diabetes can lead to serious and even life-threatening complications.
A random blood sugar test may reveal high blood sugar levels. A hemoglobin A1C test can provide more information about average blood sugar levels over a few months. Your child may also need a fasting blood sugar test.
If your child’s doctor diagnoses them with diabetes, your doctor will need to determine if it’s type 1 or type 2 before suggesting a specific treatment.
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