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Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar from your food as energy. Type 2 diabetes happens when your body can't use insulin the right way. Over time, the pancreas can't make enough insulin. If you don't have enough insulin, too much sugar stays in your blood.
If you are overweight, get little or no exercise, or have type 2 diabetes in your family, you are more likely to have problems with the way insulin works in your body. First Nations, Africans, Asians, Hispanics, and South Asians have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with a healthy lifestyle, which includes staying at a healthy weight, making smart food choices, and getting regular exercise.
You'll keep hearing about how important it is to keep your blood sugar within a target range. That's because over time, high blood sugar can lead to serious problems. It can:
When people hear the word "diabetes," they often think of problems like these. But daily care and treatment can help prevent or delay these problems. The goal is to keep your blood sugar in a target range. That's the best way to reduce your chance of having more problems from diabetes.
Some people who have type 2 diabetes may not have any symptoms early on. Many people with the disease don't even know they have it at first. But with time, diabetes starts to cause symptoms. You experience most symptoms of type 2 diabetes when your blood sugar is either too high or too low.
The most common symptoms of high blood sugar include:
The symptoms of low blood sugar include:
The best way to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes is to adopt healthy habits, which include:
If you have type 2 diabetes, here are the most important things you can do.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: July 25, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
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