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Type 2 Diabetes

     Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs because of an issue in the way the body regulates and uses glucose (sugar) as fuel. This long-term condition results in too much sugar circulating in the blood. Eventually, high blood sugar levels can lead to circulatory, nervous, and immune disorders.

 

Cause

     Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, is vital to letting blood sugar into the body's cells for energy use. With type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. The pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually, the pancreas can’t keep up, and blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar damages the body and can cause other serious health problems like heart disease,  vision loss, and kidney disease.

 

Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Causes

     The two primary types of age-related macular degeneration have different causes:

  • Dry. This type is the most common. About 80% of those with AMD have the dry form. 

  • Wet. Though this type is less common, it usually leads to more severe vision loss in patients than dry AMD.

 

Risk Factors

  • Prediabetic diagnosis

  • Overweight

  • 45 years or older

  • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes.

  • Are physically active less than three times a week.

  • Previously diagnosed with gestational diabetes.

 

Symptoms

  • Increased thirst

  • Frequent urination

  • Increased hunger

  • Unintended weight loss

  • Fatigue

  • Blurred vision

  • Slow-healing sores

  • Frequent infections

  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet

  • Areas of darkened skin, usually in the armpits and neck
     

Diagnosis

     Blood tests are used to diagnose type 2 diabetes. The blood tests include:

  • The A1C test, which measures average blood sugar levels over the past three months

  • The fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test measures blood sugar levels and requires fasting (not eating or drinking anything except water) for at least 8 hours before the test.

  • The random plasma glucose (RPG) test measures the current blood sugar level. This test is used when diabetes symptoms are present, and the provider does not want to wait for the person to fast before having the test.

 

Managing Diabetes:

     The primary ways to manage diabetes are lifestyle changes (healthy eating and being active) and medications (insulin, injectable, or oral diabetes medicines). Prescribed medicines help manage blood sugar and avoid complications, but eating healthy and being active is still vital
     Unlike many health conditions, diabetes is managed mainly by the individual, with support from their health care team (including primary care, podiatrist, dentist, ophthalmologist, registered dietitian, diabetes educator, and pharmacist), family, and other key people. 

     Keeping blood sugar levels as close to target as possible will help prevent or delay diabetes-related complications. Checking blood sugar regularly will provide insight into meeting target levels. One should get guidance from their doctor on how often they should check blood sugar and their target blood sugar levels. It’s also vital to keep blood pressure and cholesterol close to the doctor's targets and get necessary screening tests.

Diabetes Education:

     Whether just diagnosed with diabetes or having had it for some time, meeting with a diabetes educator is a great way to get support and guidance, including how to:

  • Develop a healthy eating and activity plan.

  • Test blood sugar and keep a record of the results.

  • Recognize the signs of high or low blood sugar and what to do about it.

  • If needed, give insulin by syringe, pen, or pump.

  • Monitor feet, skin, and eyes to catch problems early.

  • Buy diabetes supplies and store them properly.

  • Manage stress and deal with daily diabetes care.
     

Healthy Eating

There's no specific diabetes diet. However, it's essential to center nutrition around the following:
A regular schedule for meals and healthy snacks

  • Smaller portion sizes

  • More high-fiber foods include fruits, non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains.

  • Fewer refined grains, starchy vegetables, and sweets

  • Modest servings of low-fat dairy, low-fat meats, and fish

  • Healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or canola oil

Being Active

  • Set a goal to be more active most days of the week. 

  • Start slowly by taking 15-minute walks two times a day. 

  • The pool is an excellent place for older adults for physical activity.

  • Low-impact exercises that work well for older adults are chair yoga and pilates.

  • Work on muscle strength twice a week. The best muscle-strengthening exercises for older adults include resistance bands, body weight, and dumbbell workouts while avoiding activities that strain the body, like bench pressing, squats with weights, and high-intensity interval training.

 

Get Support:

     Tap into online diabetes communities for encouragement, insights, and support. The American Diabetes Association’s Community page and ADCES’s Peer Support Resources are great ways to connect with others who share your experience.

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