About Type 2 Diabetes

  • Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which a person’s body doesn’t make enough insulin, makes too much insulin, or the insulin that the body makes doesn’t work the way it should. Insulin is a hormone that controls how much glucose (blood sugar) gets into your body’s cells.
  • The body may also keep making blood sugar , even though it doesn’t need it. This causes the blood sugar level to become too high, which is known as hyperglycemia.

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  • More than 30 million adults in the United States are living with diabetes, and 90-95% have type 2 diabetes. If current trends continue, about one in three American adults could have diabetes by 2050. Type 2 diabetes develops due to both genetics and environmental factors. Some people have a higher chance of getting type 2 diabetes than others, including:

    • Those age 45 and older
    • Those with a family history of diabetes
    • Those who are overweight
    • Those who do not exercise regularly
    • Those with low HDL cholesterol (a fat-like substance in your cells) or high triglycerides (a type of fat in your cells)
    • Those who have high blood pressure
    • Certain racial and ethnic groups (e.g., African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans)
    • Women who had diabetes during pregnancy (called gestational diabetes)

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    Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. However, some people may have type 2 diabetes without any symptoms, so it’s important to get regular blood tests, especially if you have a higher chance of getting diabetes.

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    People with diabetes can have many serious health problems over time, including:

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    People with type 2 diabetes can help lower the chance of serious health problems s over time, such as heart disease and stroke. Your doctor can help you set up a treatment plan to help manage the ABCs of diabetes. Click icons to learn more.

    Know Your ABCs: A Is for A1CKnow Your ABCs: B Is for Blood PressureKnow Your ABCs: C Is for Cholesterol

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    Work with your doctor to keep your blood sugar under control and to set and reach goals for your A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol. This can help lower your chances of having other health problems over time. There’s a lot of ways you can help control your blood sugar levels:

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    Ask your doctor what the right A1C goal is for you. Your doctor can also help you come up with a diabetes treatment plan that’s just for you, which may include:

    • Diet
    • Exercise
    • Medicine (if prescribed by your doctor)

    Be sure to talk about how often you should check your blood sugar and your A1C. Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of both high and low blood sugar, and talk to your doctor about how to help reduce your risk. You will need to take a blood test to know your A1C, which tells you two things:

    • The average amount of sugar in your blood over the past two to three months.
    • How close or far you are from your A1C goal.

    It’s also important to work with your doctor to come up with a treatment plan that is right for you and fits your needs and goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak up if you believe that something isn’t working for you. Here are some questions to help start the conversation

    • What is my A1C and what should my goal be?
    • How often should I self-test my blood sugar at home?
    • What are the signs and symptoms of high and low blood sugar?
    • What should I do if I experience these symptoms?
    • Do I need to make any changes to my diabetes management plan?
    • What are the benefits and possible side effects of the medicine(s) I’m taking?
    • What are the possible causes of high and low blood sugar?

    Remember that individual A1C goals may be higher or lower, but the general recommended A1C goal for many adults with diabetes is less than 7 percent. Additionally, diabetes changes over time. If your doctor decides it is time to update your treatment plan, it may not mean that you haven’t tried hard enough – many people need to adjust over time to help them reach their goals.

    Take the next step and check out our tips to help you tackle some common type 2 diabetes challenges head on.

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