Type 2 Diabetes: Overview

Health Monitor Staff
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About 24 million Americans—almost 7% of the nation's population—have type 2 diabetes. This chronic condition usually develops in middle-aged adults. Being overweight increases your risk of getting the disease. In fact, roughly 80% of those diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight.

People with type 2 diabetes have insulin (a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels) resistance. Insulin resistance keeps your body from responding to insulin. When this happens, glucose cannot move into cells and be used for energy. Over time, your pancreas may even slow down the production of insulin. As your body becomes less able to make insulin and less able to overcome insulin resistance, your blood sugar levels may get higher, although you may not experience any immediate symptoms. It's only when blood sugar levels become extremely high that most people will begin to have noticeable symptoms and start to feel sick.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you must manage your blood sugar levels. High levels can lead to other health problems involving your nervous system, heart, kidneys, and other organs.

While type 2 diabetes is a serious disease, there's no reason to give up! There are many things you can do to live a healthier life.

April 2013