Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of blood sugar (glucose) in the body. It is caused by a combination of insulin resistance and a relative insulin deficiency. Insulin resistance means that the body's cells are not responding properly to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. This leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. Over time, if left uncontrolled, high blood sugar can damage the body's organs and lead to serious health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations.
Type 2 diabetes can be managed through lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight. Medications, such as metformin, sulfonylureas, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists, SGLT2 inhibitors, and insulin, may also be prescribed to help manage blood sugar levels. In some cases, a combination of lifestyle changes and medication may be needed to effectively manage type 2 diabetes.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes can develop slowly over time and may be mild at first, making them difficult to recognize. Some common symptoms include:
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Extreme hunger, even after eating
- Blurred vision
- Slow-healing cuts or sores
- Dry, itchy skin
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
- Recurrent infections
- Dark, velvety patches of skin, especially around the neck or armpits (a condition called acanthosis nigricans)
It's important to note that not everyone with type 2 diabetes will experience symptoms, and some people may have the condition for years without realizing it. If you are concerned that you may have type 2 diabetes, it's important to speak to your doctor and get your blood sugar levels checked.