What you need to know about type 2 diabetes

 

Bismarck Tribune -By SANDY TSCHOSIK | Posted: Sunday, February 19, 2012 12:15 am

What exactly is type 2 diabetes and how can I prevent getting it?

Diabetes is a disease that causes elevated blood glucose (sugar) levels, or hyperglycemia. The food we consume is broken down into glucose.  Insulin, a hormone produced by our pancreas, transfers glucose out of the blood stream into the body’s cells to create energy for proper cell function.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas isn’t making enough insulin or the body is having trouble using insulin properly. As a result, the glucose doesn’t get into the cells, blood glucose levels rise and the cells “starve.” Elevated blood glucose levels over time increase your risk for developing heart disease, stroke, peripheral artery disease, kidney failure, blindness and nerve damage.

You could be at risk for type 2 diabetes if you are overweight, have a family history of diabetes, have been told you have “pre-diabetes,” have high blood pressure or cholesterol, have had gestational diabetes or if you smoke.  You’re also at risk if you are African American, American Indian, Hispanic or Pacific Islander.

Your risk also increases if you are over the age of 45. However due to the rising rate of obesity, type 2 diabetes is being diagnosed in younger people including children.

Common symptoms include unexplained weight loss, unusual hunger, thirst or fatigue, frequent urination, irritability and blurry vision. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should visit your health care provider.

Some people may have pre-diabetes or diabetes without noticing these symptoms. Therefore it is important to visit your healthcare provider to be screened.  Your healthcare provider will take your medical history and a blood test that measures the amount of sugar in your blood. Read more: