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Type 2 Diabetes Is Caused By

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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Type 2 Diabetes

Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

Many people with insulin resistance have dark patches on their skin, especially in skin folds like those around the neck or in the armpits. This is called acanthosis nigricans, or simply acanthosis, and its often an early sign that a person may develop type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes can show up in different ways. Some kids have symptoms, but others dont. Kids with diabetes symptoms may:

  • need to pee a lot
  • be thirstier and drink more than usual
  • feel tired often
  • have blurry vision

What Is Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disease where your body cant use energy from food properly. Your pancreas produces insulin to help your cells use glucose . But over time your pancreas makes less insulin and the cells resist the insulin. This causes too much sugar to build up in your blood. High blood sugar levels from Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health problems including heart disease, stroke or death.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

You’ll be given a special sweetened drink prior to this blood test. A test result of 11.1 mmol/L or greater taken two hours after having the sweet drink indicates diabetes.

A second test must be done in all cases . Once diabetes has been diagnosed, ask your doctor to refer you for diabetes education. Diabetes Canada also has many resources to help you understand diabetes better and live a long and healthy life. Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and managing the disease is not easy. But it is important to know that you can live a long and healthy life by taking a number of steps including keeping your blood sugar levels in target range.

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Type 2 Diabetes Causes

Type 2 diabetes has several causes: genetics and lifestyle are the most important ones. A combination of these factors can cause insulin resistance, when your body doesnt use insulin as well as it should. Insulin resistance is the most common cause of type 2 diabetes.

Genetics Play a Role in Type 2 DiabetesLifestyle Is Very Important, Too

Genes do play a role in type 2 diabetes, but lifestyle choices are also important. You can, for example, have a genetic mutation that may make you susceptible to type 2, but if you take good care of your body, you may not develop diabetes.

Say that two people have the same genetic mutation. One of them eats well, watches their cholesterol, and stays physically fit, and the other is overweight and inactive. The person who is overweight and inactive is much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes because certain lifestyle choices greatly influence how well your body uses insulin.

  • Lack of exercise: Physical activity has many benefitsone of them being that it can help you avoid type 2 diabetes, if youre susceptible.
  • Unhealthy meal planning choices: A meal plan filled with high-fat foods and lacking in fiber increases the likelihood of type 2.
  • Overweight/Obesity: Lack of exercise and unhealthy meal planning choices can lead to obesity, or make it worse. Being overweight makes it more likely that youll become insulin resistant and can also lead to many other health conditions.

Insulin Resistancenot Type 2 Risk Factors

Healthy Eating For Type 2 Diabetes

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A dietitian or your doctor will be able to advise you on what to eat to meet your nutritional needs and control your blood sugar. Your doctor should be able to refer you to a registered dietitian for personalised advice.

Eating healthy foods with a low glycaemic index can help to optimise your blood sugar levels. This includes wholegrain breads, minimally processed breakfast cereals like rolled or steel cut oats, legumes, fruit, pasta and dairy products.

Avoid high-carbohydrate, low-nutrient foods such as cakes, lollies and soft drinks, and eat a diet low in saturated fat.

You should eat at regular times of the day and may also need snacks. Try to match the amount of food you eat with the amount of activity you do, so that you dont put on weight.

If you are overweight or obese, losing even 5-10 per cent of your body weight can significantly improve blood sugar control.

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Your Body Mass Index Matters

Body mass index is a number calculated from a persons weight and height. Most health professionals rely on BMI to assess whether their patients are overweight or have obesity . All adults who are overweight should talk to their doctor about getting tested for type 2 diabetes.

People of Asian heritage in the normal weight range may have too much visceral fat and be at risk of type 2 diabetes at a lower BMI. Researchers now suggest that people of Asian heritage get tested if their BMI is 23 or more.

Type 2 Diabetes In Children And Teens

Childhood obesity rates are rising, and so are the rates of type 2 diabetes in youth. More than 75% of children with type 2 diabetes have a close relative who has it, too. But its not always because family members are related it can also be because they share certain habits that can increase their risk. Parents can help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by developing a plan for the whole family:

  • Drinking more water and fewer sugary drinks
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Making favorite foods healthier
  • Making physical activity more fun

Healthy changes become habits more easily when everyone makes them together. Find out how to take charge family style with these healthy tips.

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Can Type 2 Diabetes Be Cured

Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, but people with the condition may be able to manage their type 2 diabetes through lifestyle changes and, if needed, diabetes medications to control blood sugar levels.

Its also emerging that some people who are overweight or obese can put their type 2 diabetes into remission by losing a substantial amount of weight, especially early in their diagnosis. Their blood sugar measurements return to healthy levels below the diabetes range. Its not a permanent solution, and diabetes could come back, so it needs to be maintained. However, many people were still in remission 2 years later. This should only be tried under the supervision of your doctor.

Health Problems Linked To Type 2 Diabetes

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If your blood sugar is frequently imbalanced, you may be at a greater risk for the following type 2 diabetes complications:

Cardiovascular Disease

Diabetic Retinopathy In diabetic retinopathy, high blood sugar weakens the capillaries that supply the retina, the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye.

The capillaries then swell, become blocked, or leak blood into the center of the eye, blurring vision. In advanced stages, abnormal new blood vessels grow.

Diabetic Neuropathy Neuropathy, or nerve damage, can affect any nerve in your body. Most commonly, it affects the nerves in the feet, legs, hands, and arms this condition is called peripheral neuropathy.

Peripheral neuropathy can cause tingling, burning, pain, or numbness in the affected areas.

The pain of peripheral neuropathy is difficult to control, though some find topical products that contain capsaicin to be helpful.

Diabetic Nephropathy In diabetic nephropathy, the nephrons in the kidneys become damaged from chronic high blood sugar.

High blood pressure compounds the problem, and high cholesterol appears to contribute to it as well.

In the early stages of diabetic nephropathy, you may not notice any symptoms, but standard blood and urine tests can detect early signs of dysfunction, and early treatment can stop or slow its progression.

Diabetic Ulcer People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing foot ulcers .

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What Does It Really Mean To Have Type 2 Diabetes

If youve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it simply means that too much sugar is floating around in your bloodstream, to the point of being dangerous to your health. Under normal circumstances, your body automatically removes excess sugar from your bloodstream every time you eat.

You see, the food you eat always undergoes a routine process: Once ingested, its broken down into sugar molecules in the bloodstream. As soon as your body senses that sugar has entered the bloodstream, it sends the hormone insulin to pull sugar molecules out of the bloodstream and into your cells to be used or stored as energy. This is a natural digestive process, intended to provide fuel for the body.

However, type 2 diabetes is the result of this natural process being disrupted.

When you have type 2 diabetes, it means your body has temporarily lost its ability to pull the sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells, leaving you with elevated levels of sugar lingering in your blood.

But why does this happen?

The answer is simple. With an excessive amount of refined sugar in your diet, your body becomes resistant to dealing with it. Its this exact mechanism that leads to insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes.

How To Reverse Prediabetes

The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program helps people with prediabetes make lasting lifestyle changes to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes.

Working with a trained coach, youâll learn to eat healthy, add physical activity into your life, and manage stress. With other participants, youâll celebrate successes and work to overcome challenges.

If you have prediabetes, now is your time to take action.

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The Health Risks Of Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a lifelong condition. High blood glucose levels over a long period of time can cause:

  • blindness
  • reduced blood supply to the limbs, leading to amputation
  • nerve damage
  • erectile dysfunction and
  • stroke.

Although there is no cure for diabetes, the condition can be managed by medication and/or insulin, and by making healthy lifestyle choices.

When To Contact A Doctor About Dizziness

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Anyone experiencing regular dizziness should contact a doctor. They may wish to consider keeping track of when they feel dizzy to help a doctor identify any patterns.

The doctor may carry out a physical examination and assess any other symptoms. They may check blood sugar levels and review the personâs medications to determine the cause of the dizziness.

Treating or managing the underlying causes of dizziness in type 2 diabetes may help resolve dizziness.

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What Kind Of Doctor Treats Diabetes

Endocrinology is the specialty of medicine that deals with hormone disturbances, and both endocrinologists and pediatric endocrinologists manage patients with diabetes. People with diabetes may also be treated by family medicine or internal medicine specialists. When complications arise, people with diabetes may be treated by other specialists, including neurologists, gastroenterologists, ophthalmologists, surgeons, cardiologists, or others.

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • How did I get diabetes?
  • If I have diabetes, will my children develop it, too?
  • Will I need to take insulin?
  • If I dont have a family history of diabetes, can I still get it?
  • Can your diabetes get worse even if you do everything right?
  • Can I prevent gestational diabetes?
  • If I had gestational diabetes while pregnant, will I get type 2 diabetes later?
  • Will the babies of a mom with gestational diabetes develop diabetes?
  • How can I tell the difference between Charcot foot and gout in my foot?

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What Are The Other Types Of Diabetes

Gestational diabetes

Diabetes can occur temporarily during pregnancy, and reports suggest that it occurs in 2% to 10% of all pregnancies. Significant hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to blood sugar elevation in genetically predisposed individuals. Blood sugar elevation during pregnancy is called gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes usually resolves once the baby is born. However, 35% to 60% of women with gestational diabetes will eventually develop type 2 diabetes over the next 10 to 20 years, especially in those who require insulin during pregnancy and those who remain overweight after their delivery. Women with gestational diabetes are usually asked to undergo an oral glucose tolerance test about six weeks after giving birth to determine if their diabetes has persisted beyond the pregnancy, or if any evidence is present that may be a clue to a risk for developing diabetes.

Secondary diabetes

“Secondary” diabetes refers to elevated blood sugar levels from another medical condition. Secondary diabetes may develop when the pancreatic tissue responsible for the production of insulin is destroyed by disease, such as chronic pancreatitis , trauma, or surgical removal of the pancreas.

Hormonal disturbances


Certain medications may worsen diabetes control, or “unmask” latent diabetes. This is seen most commonly when steroid medications are taken and also with medications used in the treatment of HIV infection .

Is Type 2 Diabetes Genetic

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Yes. There seems to be a strong genetic component to developing type 2 diabetes. About 75 to 90% of affected individuals have a close relative with the disease. The familial link is surprisingly much higher for people with type 2 than type 1 diabetes .

But dont think that just because your parents have type 2 diabetes, you will too. Remember, type 2 diabetes is often a preventable disease.

This familial link appears complex and strongly influenced by environmental factors, like diet and exercise. This means that families living together often share a similar lifestyle, including eating the same food types and engaging in relatively similar amounts of physical activities. Because diet and exercise are so important in the development of type 2 diabetes, families with an unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle are all more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Therefore while your genes may impart some influence on disease development, your lifestyle choices can almost always overcome your genetic susceptibility. Even if your entire family has type 2 diabetes, you can prevent developing the disease by taking diet choices and exercise seriously and successfully maintaining your optimal weight. On the contrary, you will still have a high likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes if you engage in high risk lifestyle behavior, even if no one else in your family has type 2 diabetes.

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What Are The Risk Factors For Diabetes

Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are not as well understood as those for type 2 diabetes. Family history is a known risk factor for type 1 diabetes. Other risk factors can include having certain infections or diseases of the pancreas.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes are many. The following can raise your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Being obese or overweight
  • Ethnic background: Hispanic/Latino Americans, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Alaska natives are at greater risk.

Diet Weight Control And Physical Activity

  • Diet. What you eat is absolutely central to your blood glucose control, as well as your general health. Please read our separate leaflet called Type 2 Diabetes Diet for more information. Your practice nurse or dietician can give you more information and support.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Getting to a perfect weight is unrealistic for many people. However, losing some weight if you are obese or overweight will help to reduce your blood glucose and blood pressure levels . Recent evidence from Professor Taylor, Newcastle University, has shown that weight loss alone can put diabetes into drug-free remission in at least a third of patients.
  • Do some physical activity regularly. If you are able, a minimum of 30 minutes’ brisk walking at least five times a week is advised. Anything more vigorous and more often is even better – for example, swimming, cycling, jogging, dancing. Ideally, you should do an activity that gets you at least mildly out of breath and mildly sweaty. You can spread the activity over the day – for example, two fifteen-minute spells per day of brisk walking, cycling, dancing, etc. Regular physical activity also reduces your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

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People Living With Type 2 Diabetes Food List

Your diet can play a major role in preventing or even in managing type 2 diabetes.

So here are some items that included in the type 2 diabetes food list:

  • Fatty fish
  • Garlic
  • Strawberries

Diabetes can cause many symptoms and various health issues including hair loss. However, by controlling the blood sugar level you can reverse the effects of hair loss.

Type 2 Diabetes Medications

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Many people with type 2 diabetes may not need medications at first. If caught early enough,changing your lifestyle by modifying your diet and increasing exercise can be enough to control and eliminate the disease altogether.

While many people may feel it is not ideal, starting medications for type 2 diabetes is common. As described above, this disease can become very dangerous if it is not well controlled. It is therefore very important to regularly take all medications your doctor prescribes. Your doctor may recommend oral medications in addition to the recommended lifestyle changes. In advanced cases of type 2 diabetes, insulin injections may be required as well.

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Newly Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes

Knowing where to get started following a type 2 diagnosis can be a challenge. You may feel overwhelmed, but its important to know there isnt a one-size fits all approach to managing the condition.

As well as using the information on this page to understand your condition, you can meet other people with type 2 diabetes in our Learning Zone. Youll hear advice from others in your position, and get practical tools to help you feel more confident managing your condition.

How Is Type 2 Diabetes Managed

Theres no cure for Type 2 diabetes. But you can manage the condition by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking medication if needed. Work with your healthcare provider to manage your:

  • Blood sugar: A blood glucose meter or continuous glucose monitoring can help you meet your blood sugar target. Your healthcare provider may also recommend regular A1c tests, oral medications , insulin therapy or injectable non-insulin diabetes medications.
  • Blood pressure: Lower your blood pressure by not smoking, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. Your healthcare provider may recommend blood pressure medication such as beta blockers or ACE inhibitors.
  • Cholesterol: Follow a meal plan low in saturated fats, trans fat, salt and sugar. Your healthcare provider may recommend statins, which are a type of drug to lower cholesterol.

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