Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common, accounting for around 90% of all diabetes cases.

Type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance, where the body doesn’t fully respond to insulin. Because insulin can’t work properly, blood glucose levels keep rising, releasing more insulin. For some, this can eventually tire the pancreas, resulting in the body producing less and less insulin, causing even higher blood glucose levels.

It’s most commonly diagnosed in older adults, but is increasingly seen in children, adolescents and younger adults due to rising levels of obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet.

There are more risk factors that are linked to Type 2 diabetes: 

  • Family history of diabetes 
  •  Overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Increasing age
  • High blood pressure
  • Ethnicity
  • Impaired glucose tolerance 
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy

A healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet, regular physical activity, not smoking, and maintaining a healthy body weight are all elements to manage Type 2 diabetes. At diagnosis, all people with Type 2 diabetes are prescribed metformin, a tablet that helps control glucose production in the liver. If lifestyle and metformin don’t achieve good glucose control, more medications will be added. 

It’s important to be aware that diabetes is a progressive disease and eventually the pancreas will not produce enough insulin. At this point, insulin injections will be required. The rate of progression of diabetes is influenced by genetics as well as lifestyle and oral medications used. It’s often possible to keep the pancreas working for many years. 

Symptoms

  • Excessive thirst and dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Lack of energy, tiredness
  • Slow-healing wounds
  • Recurrent infections of the skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
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FAST FACT

Changes in diet and physical activity related to rapid development and urbanisation have led to sharp increases in the numbers of people living with Type 2 diabetes.