People with type 2 diabetes have too much sugar in their blood. This is caused by the body cells not responding well to insulin. Insulin is the hormone which maintains your blood sugar level. You initially have too much sugar in your blood with type 2 diabetes, but eventually your body produces too little insulin. This can ultimately be very harmful to your heart, eyes and kidneys. Heredity, descent and being overweight play a demonstrable role in the development of type 2 diabetes. People are generally over 40 years old when they are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Younger people with type 2 diabetes are often overweight.
Type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed late. This is because most people generally won’t notice any symptoms until a much later stage, if at all. The first noticeable symptoms you may have are:
- Bladder complaints, like a bladder infection.
- Weight loss.
- Itchy labia (women).
- A glans infection (men).
In addition to these symptoms, long-term type 2 diabetes may also result in:
- Visual impairment.
- Tingling and painful arms and legs.
- Reduced feeling in your feet.
- Poorly healing wounds.
- Motor problems. For example, difficulty walking.
- Erection problems (men).
- Heart and vascular disease.
- Psychological problems. This will put you at an increased risk of depression.
First and foremost, it’s important for you to start living a healthy life. You can do this by:
- Stopping smoking.
- Making sure you get plenty of exercise.
- Eating a healthy and varied diet. Look for tips on the nutrition centre’s website.
- Drink little or no alcohol.
- Sleep for at least 8 hours per night.
- Plan enough relaxation during the day.
- Reduce stress. Find out what causes you stress and try to tackle the causes of it.
You can avoid having to take medication for the symptoms by living a healthy life. This unfortunately can’t always be prevented. It’s important you take any medication in accordance with the package leaflet.
It’s also important to regularly check your blood sugar levels with type 2 diabetes. You’ll be told by your GP or a diabetes nurse how to do this and what to do to get your blood sugar back up to the required level. You can check your blood sugar level independently and at home following a thorough explanation. You do this with a lancing device, test strip and blood sugar meter.
Do you find it difficult to follow a healthy diet? Then we would recommend contacting a dietician. He or she can provide you with appropriate advice and support.
Do you suspect you have type 2 diabetes? Then always contact your GP. Your GP will then check your blood sugar level and see whether this is within the normal range. If you have type 2 diabetes:
- Your fasting blood sugar level is a 7 or above on two or more days.
- Your fasting blood sugar level is at least 7 on one day and you have symptoms.
- Your blood sugar level is at least 11 on one day and you have symptoms.
You’ll have a check-up at your GP practice every three months once you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This is separate from the self-checks, which you have to do every day. Your GP will check your levels and how you’re doing in general during these check-ups. This will keep your blood sugar level stable and prevent psychological problems.