Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and affects approximately 95 percent of people with the disease. Unlike people with type 1 diabetes, those with type 2 do produce insulin. However, either they do not produce enough insulin or the body does not respond to the insulin effectively. The latter condition is known as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, or syndrome X.
The body's shortage of insulin or resistance to insulin causes glucose to build up in the blood instead of entering the cells, where it can be used for energy.
Type 2 diabetes affects people of all ages. Early symptoms are subtle; in fact, about one-third of people with the disease don't even know that they have it.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes
Those at the highest risk for type 2 diabetes are people who are overweight, have a family history of type 2 diabetes, or have certain related health conditions such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Smoking and living a sedentary lifestyle also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Women who have had gestational diabetes or a history of polycystic ovary syndrome are also at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Managing type 2 diabetes
People with type 2 diabetes can often control their blood sugar levels and decrease their risk of complications by changing their diet. Regular exercise and stress reduction techniques also play a large role in diabetes management.
For those who are unable to control their blood sugar sufficiently through lifestyle changes, oral medication may be necessary. Various types of diabetes medication are available to stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin or to improve the body's response to insulin.
Regular blood glucose testing is important in monitoring blood sugar levels and making any necessary adjustments to diet and lifestyle. The timing and frequency of your blood glucose testing depends on how well controlled your diabetes is and whether you are experiencing any specific symptoms. Some common times for testing blood glucose are after waking up in the morning, before and after eating or working out, and before bed.
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