Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms and treatment in Adults

 Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms & Treatment in Adults

Type 2 diabetes is an impairment in the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) as a fuel. Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms indicate our physical changes.

This long-term (chronic) condition results in too much sugar circulating in the bloodstream. Eventually, high blood sugar levels can lead to disorders of the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems.

In type 2 diabetes, there are primarily two interrelated problems at work. Your pancreas does not produce enough insulin — a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells — and cells respond poorly to insulin and take in less sugar.

Type 2 diabetes symptoms used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but both type 1 and type 2 diabetes symptoms can begin during childhood and adulthood. Type 2 is more common in older adults, but the increase in the number of children with obesity has led to more cases of type 2 diabetes in younger people.

There’s no cure for type 2 diabetes, but losing weight, eating well, and exercising can help you manage the disease. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to manage your blood sugar, you may also need diabetes medications or insulin therapy.

 

Symptoms

 Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms & Treatment in AdultsType 2 Diabetes Symptoms and Signs often develop slowly. In fact, you can be living with type 2 diabetes for years and not know it. When signs and symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Frequent infections
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
  • Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck

Causes

Type 2 diabetes symptoms  is primarily the result of two interrelated problems:

  • Cells in muscle, fat and the liver become resistant to insulin. Because these cells don’t interact in a normal way with insulin, they don’t take in enough sugar.
  • The pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels.

Exactly why this happens is unknown, but being overweight and inactive are key contributing factors.

 

How insulin works

Insulin is a hormone that comes from the gland situated behind and below the stomach (pancreas). Insulin regulates how the body uses sugar in the following ways:

  • Sugar in the bloodstream triggers the pancreas to secrete insulin.
  • Insulin circulates in the bloodstream, enabling sugar to enter your cells.
  • The amount of sugar in your bloodstream drops.
  • In response to this drop, the pancreas releases less insulin.

 

Complications

 Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms & Treatment in Adults

Type 2 diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. Also, factors that increase the risk of diabetes are risk factors for other serious chronic diseases. Managing diabetes and controlling your blood sugar can lower your risk for these complications or coexisting conditions (comorbidities).

Potential complications of diabetes and frequent comorbidities include:

  • Heart and blood vessel disease. Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy) in limbs. High blood sugar over time can damage or destroy nerves, resulting in tingling, numbness, burning, pain or eventual loss of feeling that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward.
  • Other nerve damage. Damage to nerves of the heart can contribute to irregular heart rhythms. Nerve damage in the digestive system can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation. For men, nerve damage may cause erectile dysfunction.
  • Kidney disease. Diabetes may lead to chronic kidney disease or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, which may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Diabetes increases the risk of serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, and may damage the blood vessels of the retina, potentially leading to blindness.
  • Skin conditions. Diabetes may leave you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Slow healing. Left untreated, cuts and blisters can become serious infections, which may heal poorly. Severe damage might require toe, foot or leg amputation.
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.
  • Sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is common in people living with type 2 diabetes. Obesity may be the main contributing factor to both conditions. It’s not clear whether treating sleep apnea improves blood sugar control.
  • Dementia. Type 2 diabetes seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that cause dementia. Poor control of blood sugar levels is linked to more-rapid decline in memory and other thinking skills.

Prevention

Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and that’s true even if you have biological relatives living with diabetes. If you’ve received a diagnosis of prediabetes, lifestyle changes may slow or stop the progression to diabetes or type 2 diabetes symptoms.

A healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Eating healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Getting active. Aim for 150 or more minutes a week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, such as a brisk walk, bicycling, running or swimming.

 

  • Losing weight. Losing a modest amount of weight and keeping it off can delay the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, losing 7% to 10% of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes.
  • Avoiding inactivity for long periods. Sitting still for long periods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move around for at least a few minutes.

Diagnosis

Type 2 diabetes is usually diagnosed using the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. This blood test indicates your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Results are interpreted as follows:

  • Below 5.7% is normal.
  • 5.7% to 6.4% is diagnosed as prediabetes.
  • 6.5% or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes.

If the A1C test isn’t available, or if you have certain conditions that interfere with an A1C test, your doctor may use the following tests to diagnose diabetes:

Random blood sugar test. Blood sugar values are expressed in milligrams of sugar per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles of sugar per liter (mmol/L) of blood. Regardless of when you last ate, a level of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher suggests diabetes, especially if you also have signs and symptoms of diabetes, such as frequent urination and extreme thirst.

Fasting blood sugar test. A blood sample is taken after an overnight fast. Results are interpreted as follows:

  • Less than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L) is normal.
  • 100 to 125 mg/dL (5.6 to 6.9 mmol/L) is diagnosed as prediabetes.
  • 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate tests is diagnosed as diabetes.

Oral glucose tolerance test. This test is less commonly used than the others, except during pregnancy. You’ll need to fast overnight and then drink a sugary liquid at the doctor’s office. Blood sugar levels are tested periodically for the next two hours. Results are interpreted as follows:

  • Less than 140 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L) is normal.
  • 140 to 199 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L and 11.0 mmol/L) is diagnosed as prediabetes.
  • 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher after two hours suggests diabetes.

Screening. The American Diabetes Association recommends routine screening with diagnostic tests for type 2 diabetes symptoms in all adults age 45 or older and in the following groups:

  • People younger than 45 who are overweight or obese and have one or more risk factors associated with diabetes
  • Women who have had gestational diabetes
  • People who have been diagnosed with prediabetes
  • Children who are overweight or obese and who have a family history of type 2 diabetes or other risk factors.

Treatment

 Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms & Treatment in Adults

Management of type 2 diabetes includes:

  • Healthy eating
  • Regular exercise
  • Weight loss
  • Possibly, diabetes medication or insulin therapy
  • Blood sugar monitoring
  • Diabetes prevention medicine

These steps will help keep your blood sugar level closer to normal, which can delay or prevent complications. and must take Diabetes medicine for better results.

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Healthy eating

Contrary to popular perception, there’s no specific diabetes diet. However, it’s important to center your diet around:

  • A regular schedule for meals and healthy snacks
  • Smaller portion sizes
  • More high-fiber foods, such as fruits, nonstarchy vegetables and whole grains
  • Fewer refined grains, starchy vegetables and sweets
  • Modest servings of low-fat dairy, low-fat meats and fish
  • Healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or canola oil
  • Fewer calories

Your health care provider may recommend seeing a registered dietitian, who can help you:

  • Identify healthy choices among your food preferences
  • Plan well-balanced, nutritional meals
  • Develop new habits and address barriers to changing habits
  • Monitor carbohydrate intake to keep your blood sugar levels more stable

Physical activity

 Exercise is important for losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. It also helps with regulating blood sugar levels.

Talk to your primary health care provider before starting or changing your exercise program to ensure that activities are safe for you.

Aerobic exercise. Choose an aerobic exercise that you enjoy, such as walking, swimming, biking or running. Adults should aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate aerobic exercise on most days of the week, or at least 150 minutes a week. Children should have 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise daily.

Resistance exercise. Resistance exercise increases your strength, balance and ability to perform activities of daily living more easily. Resistance training includes weightlifting, yoga and calisthenics.

Adults living with type 2 diabetes should aim for two to three sessions of resistance exercise each week. Children should engage in activities that build strength and flexibility at least three days a week. This can include resistance exercises, sports and climbing on playground equipment.

Limit inactivity. Breaking up long bouts of inactivity, such as sitting at the computer, can help control blood sugar levels. Take a few minutes to stand, walk around or do some light activity every 30 minutes.

 

Weight loss

Weight loss results in better control of blood sugar levels, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure. If you’re overweight, you may begin to see improvements in these factors after losing as little as 5% of your body weight. However, the more weight you lose, the greater the benefit to your health and disease management.

Your health care provider or dietitian can help you set appropriate weight-loss goals and encourage lifestyle changes to help you achieve them.

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Monitoring your blood sugar

 Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms & Treatment in AdultsYour health care provider will advise you on how often to check your blood sugar level to make sure you remain within your target range.

You may, for example, need to check it once a day and before or after exercise. If you take insulin, you may need to do this multiple times a day.

Monitoring is usually done with a small, at-home device called a blood glucose meter, which measures the amount of sugar in a drop of your blood. You should keep a record of your measurements to share with your health care team.

Continuous glucose monitoring is an electronic system that records glucose levels every few minutes from a sensor placed under your skin. Information can be transmitted to a mobile device such as your phone, and the system can send alerts when levels are too high or too low.

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Signs of Blood Sugar

 Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms & Treatment in Adults

Regularly monitoring your blood sugar levels is important to avoid severe complications. Also, be aware of signs and symptoms that may suggest irregular blood sugar levels and the need for immediate care:

High blood sugar (hyperglycemia). Eating certain foods or too much food, being sick, or not taking medications at the right time can cause high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes symptoms. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Headache

Low blood sugar. If your blood sugar level drops below your target range, it’s known as low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Your blood sugar level can drop for many reasons, including skipping a meal, unintentionally taking more medication than usual or being more physical activity than usual. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Weakness
  • Hunger
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Heart palpitations
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion

If you have type 2 diabetes symptoms of low blood sugar, drink or eat something that will quickly raise your blood sugar level — fruit juice, glucose tablets, hard candy or another source of sugar. Retest your blood in 15 minutes. If levels are not at your target, repeat the sugar intake. Eat a meal after levels return to normal.

 Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms & Treatment in Adults

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