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What it Means to Have Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a problem with your body that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal. This is also called hyperglycemia. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes.


If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. Type 2 is treated with lifestyle changes, oral medications (pills), and insulin.

When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can cause two problems:

  • Right away, your cells may be starved for energy.
  • Over time, high blood glucose levels may hurt your eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.

Some people with type 2 can control their blood glucose with healthy eating and being active. But, your doctor may need to also prescribe oral medications or insulin to help you meet your target blood glucose levels. Type 2 usually gets worse over time – even if you don’t need medications at first, you may need to later on.

Some groups have a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes than others. Type 2 diabetes is more common in African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders, as well as the aged population.

WHAT CAUSES TYPE 2 DIABETES?

 Scientists do not know the exact cause of type 2 diabetes. However, development of type 2 diabetes has been associated with several risk factors. These risk factors include:

• history of hyperglycemia, prediabetes, and/or gestational diabetes (GDM)

• overweight and obesity

• physical inactivity

• genetics

• family history

• race and ethnicity

• age

• high blood pressure

• abnormal cholesterol

HOW WILL I KNOW IF MY DIABETES TREATMENT IS WORKING?

Getting an A1C test at least twice a year helps you and your health care team keep track of how well you are controlling your blood glucose levels. A1C is part of your diabetes ABCs, which will tell you if your overall diabetes treatment is working. The ABCs of diabetes are:

A is for A1C or estimated average glucose (eAG) Your A1C test tells you your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months. It’s the blood check “with a memory.”

B is for blood pressure Your blood pressure numbers tell you the force of blood inside your blood vessels. When your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder.

C is for cholesterol Your cholesterol numbers tell you about the amount of fat in your blood. Some kinds of cholesterol can raise your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Source: American Diabetes Association website, 2018

Visiting your PCP is an important part of your healthy lifestyle. If you don’t have a PCP, please visit MYFHCA.org  for a list of providers near you or call (407) 303-3627 for assistance.