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Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

What is it?

Type 2 diabetes is by far the most common: it’s the one affecting up to 90% of people living with diabetes. It is mostly found in adults (hence its nickname, “adult diabetes”), particularly in those 40 years and older. However, with the obesity epidemic currently raging around the world, it has been occurring in younger and younger people.

This type of diabetes is associated with a sedentary lifestyle, obesity and excess weight—especially in cases where there is fat accumulation in the abdomen area—but uncontrollable factors such as heredity and age play a significant role in the equation. Note that gestational diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome also increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

What’s happening?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to properly use the insulin that gets released (a phenomenon known as insulin resistance) or when it doesn’t produce enough of the hormone. As a result, sugar accumulates in the blood instead of being used as energy.

What should you watch for?

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by hyperglycemia, the symptoms of which include: frequent urination, dry mouth, increased hunger and thirst, fatigue and drowsiness, blurred vision, a tingling sensation in the fingers and feet, and slow-healing injuries.

At first, this type of diabetes has few, if any, symptoms. That’s why you should be vigilant and see a health professional as soon as possible to know what’s going on.

How do you manage type 2 diabetes?

It requires a sometimes significant change in lifestyle: adopting a healthy diet and doing physical activity, of course, but also closely monitoring your blood sugar.

When a balanced diet and active lifestyle are not enough to maintain normal glucose levels, medication or insulin have to be used.

What are the potential complications?

Continuously elevated blood sugar levels can damage the heart and blood vessels as well as the eyes and kidneys. Nerve damage can also occur, which means such things as a foot injury, for example, may go unnoticed and worsen. Neuropathies (nerve disorders) can also cause digestive problems or erectile dysfunction.

In conclusion

Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be destabilizing, to say the least. As you become familiar with the disease and change your habits little by little, you’ll find that it is actually an opportunity to focus on your well-being day after day.

 

References:
American Diabetes Association, “Where Do I Begin With Type 2?”: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/recently-diagnosed/where-do-i-begin/. Accessed January 16, 2017.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “Type 2”: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/type-2/?loc=db-slabnav. Accessed January 16, 2017.
Canadian Diabetes Association, “Types of Diabetes”: http://www.diabetes.ca/about-diabetes/types-of-diabetes. Accessed January 16, 2017.
Diabetes Québec, “Type 2 Diabetes”: http://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/understand-diabetes/all-about-diabetes/types-of-diabetes/type-2-diabetes. Accessed January 16, 2017.
Passeportsanté.net, “Les symptômes du diabète de type 2”: http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Maux/Problemes/Fiche.aspx?doc=diabete-type2-pm-symptomes-du-diabete-de-type-2. Accessed January 16, 2017.
Mayo Clinic, “Type 2 diabetes”: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/home/ovc-20169860. Accessed January 16, 2017.
Passeportsanté.net, “Le diabète de type 2”: http://www.passeportsante.net/fr/Maux/Problemes/Fiche.aspx?doc=diabete_type2_pm. Accessed January 16, 2017.
WebMD, “Type 2 Diabetes: The Basics”: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-guide/type-2-diabetes#1. Accessed January 16, 2017.
WebMD, “How does Type 2 Diabetes Affect Children”: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/type-2-diabetes-guide/type-2-diabetes-in-children#1. Accessed January 20, 2017.

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