What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 85 – 90 percent of all cases of diabetes and is considered a progressive condition as it develops over a long period of time.

It is perfectly normal to be overwhelmed or confused when you are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, as it’s a very complex condition.

How is Type 2 diabetes different to Type 1?

Unlike Type 1, where the body is unable to produce insulin at all, people with Type 2 diabetes do produce insulin, however the body doesn’t use it effectively. As a result, the cells become resistant to the normal effects of insulin over time.

This means that the body is unable to convert glucose into energy within the cells, leaving too much sugar in the bloodstream.

In an effort to help balance out high blood glucose levels, the pancreas works harder to produce more insulin. This overproduction of insulin ends up destroying the cells in the pancreas which manufacture this important hormone.

Most simply put, Type 2 diabetes is a combination of ineffective insulin and not enough insulin that occurs over a number of years.

How can Type 2 diabetes be managed?

Initially, Type 2 diabetes can be managed with a healthy diet and regular physical activity. However, as the body loses its capacity to produce enough insulin, most Type 2 diabetics will likely need other medications and insulin to help manage the condition.

What are the causes of Type 2 Diabetes?

While there isn’t a single cause of Type 2 diabetes, the condition is associated with a number of modifiable lifestyle risk factors such as overweight or obesity, poor diet, high blood pressure or a lack of physical activity.

Furthermore, research has shown that diabetes is more likely in people with a family history of Type 2 diabetes or from particular ethnic backgrounds such as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander, Indian, Pakistani, Nepalese or have a Chinese cultural background. According to Diabetes Australia, you inherit a genetic predisposition to the condition and something in the environment can trigger Type 2 diabetes.

What are the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

Not every person with diabetes experiences the same signs and symptoms. In some cases of Type 2 diabetes, many people don’t have any symptoms at all. It’s important to consult your GP or speak to your local pharmacy if you believe you may be at risk in order to prevent complications.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Being more thirsty than usual
  • Passing more urine
  • Feeling tired and lethargic
  • Slow-healing wounds or cuts
  • Itching and skin infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Gradual weight gain
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches or feeling dizzy
  • Leg cramps
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