Every day more Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) reports that 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed each year. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, it most often develops in people over age 45, but more children, teens, and young adults are developing it mostly due to the upsurge in obesity.
What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease that occurs when the blood glucose is too high. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Insulin is the hormone that regulates glucose in our cells to use for energy.
Who is at risk for Type 2 Diabetes?
- Being physically inactive
- Being over age 45
- Having obesity or excess weight
- Having a waistline larger than 35 inches in women and 40 inches in men.
- Being of African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander descent.
- If you have prediabetes or had gestational diabetes when you were pregnant.
- Having immediate family members who have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Common Symptoms of Diabetes:
- Frequently needing to urinate
- Feeling very thirsty
- Feeling very hungry
- Feeling very tired
- Blurry vision
- Slow healing sores
- Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck
- Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet
Testing for Type 2 Diabetes
There are four most commonly used test to determine type 2 diabetes:
- Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test: This shows average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. An A1C level of 6.5% or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes. Results between 5.7% and 6.4% are considered prediabetes.
- Random blood sugar test: This test is taken at any time, no fasting is required. A level of 200 mg/dl or higher suggests diabetes, particularly if other symptoms such as frequent urination and extreme thirst are present.
- Fasting blood sugar test: This is taken after an 8-10 hour fast. A fasting blood sugar level of 126 mg/ dl or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes. A level between 100 and 125 mg/dl, is considered prediabetes.
- Oral glucose tolerance test. This is a two hour test that checks your blood sugar test is done before and after drinking a liquid containing glucose. After fasting for 8-10 hours, your fasting blood sugar level is measured. Then after drinking glucose liquid, your blood sugar levels are tested periodically over 2 hours. A blood sugar level of 200 mg/dl or higher after two hours may indicate diabetes. A reading between 140 and 199 mg/dl indicates prediabetes.
After you are diagnosed with diabetes by a Healthcare professional, managing your diabetes is important to avoid complications. You have to do most of the work yourself with the support of your healthcare team.
Tips to help you manage your diabetes include:
- Keep scheduled appointments with your health care provider and adhere to treatment plan
- Eat at regular times, and don’t skip meals.
- Choose foods lower in calories, saturated fat, Trans fat, sugar, and salt.
- Choose healthier carbohydrates and be aware to control your food portion
- Exercise: physical activity also helps your body use insulin more efficiently
- Drink water instead of juice or soda.
- Limit alcoholic drinks.
- Monitor your feet, skin, and eyes to catch problems early
- Manage stress
- It is important to keep your blood pressure and cholesterol close to the target set by your healthcare provider.
- Recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar and what to do about it
Ask your healthcare provider about how to join a diabetes educational group to learn more about self-management of diabetes.