Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It occurs when blood sugar levels rise due to problems with the use or production of insulin. It can appear at any age, but is likely to occur after the age of 45. It affects more than 30 million Americans, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and accounts for 90-95 percent of diabetes cases.

This article discusses early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes, risk factors, and possible complications.

What is type 2 diabetes?

People with type 2 diabetes do not secrete insulin and do not use it properly.

Insulin is a hormone that regulates the movement of blood glucose, or sugar, to the cells that use it as energy. When sugar can’t enter cells, which means too much glucose is collected in the blood and the body’s cells are unable to use it as the energy the body need.

The doctor can diagnose diabetes if a person’s blood sugar levels are 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or higher after fasting for 8 hours.


Symptoms of high blood sugar in type 2 diabetes tend to appear gradually. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes will notice symptoms in the early stages.

If a person has symptoms, he may notice the following:

Frequent urination and increased thirst: When excess glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, the body extracts fluid from the tissues. This can lead to over-thirst and the need to drink and urinate more.

Increased hunger: In type 2 diabetes, cells cannot get glucose for energy. The energy will be in the muscles and organs, and the person may feel hungry more than usual.

Weight loss: When there is little insulin, the body may start burning fat and muscle to get energy. Which causes weight loss.

Fatigue: When cells lack glucose, the body becomes tired. Fatigue can interfere with everyday life when a person has type 2 diabetes.

Blurred vision: High blood glucose can cause fluid to be drawn from the eye lenses, leading to swelling, leading to temporary blurring of vision.

Infections and sores: Recovery from infections and sores takes longer because blood circulation is weak and there may be another nutritional deficit.

If people notice these symptoms, they should see a doctor. Diabetes can lead to a number of serious complications. The sooner a person begins to manage glucose levels, the better a chance they have to prevent complications.

Symptoms in children and adolescents

Type 2 diabetes is likely to develop after the age of 45, but can affect children and adolescents who:

  • Overweight
  • Not doing too much physical activity
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of type 2 diabetes

The following symptoms may occur:

  • Weight loss, despite increased appetite and hunger
  • Severe thirst and dry mouth
  • Frequent urination and urinary tract infections
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing of wounds
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Itching of the skin

If caregivers notice these symptoms, they should take the child to see a doctor. These are also symptoms of type 1 diabetes. Type 1 is less common but more likely to affect children and adolescents than adults. However, type 2 diabetes has become more common in young people than in the past.

Symptoms in the elderly

At least 25.2 percent of people aged 65 or over have type 2 diabetes in the United States. They may have some or all of the classic symptoms of type 2 diabetes.

They may also face one or more of the following:

  • Flu-like fatigue, which includes a feeling of lethargy and chronic weakness
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands, arms, legs and feet due to circulation and nerve damage
  • Dental problems, including infections of the mouth and inflamed red gums

Early signs

One of the classic symptoms of diabetes may be a long-time wound to heal. Most people do not have symptoms in the early stages, and may not develop symptoms for many years.

Possible early signs of type 2 diabetes include dark skin in certain areas of the body, including:

  • Neck
  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Joints

Other early symptoms include:

  • Recurrent infections in the bladder, kidneys or skin
  • Wounds that take longer to heal
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme hunger
  • Increased thirst
  • Repeated urine
  • Blurred vision

A person may experience mild or hidden symptoms for many years, but these symptoms can become timely. Other health problems can develop.

Prediabetes and diabetes prevention

A person with blood sugar levels of 100-125 mg/dL will receive a diagnosis of diabetes. This means that blood sugar levels are high, but they do not have diabetes. Taking action at this stage can prevent diabetes from developing.

According to a 2016 report in the Journal of the American Council on Family Medicine, 33.6 percent of people aged 45 and over had diabetes in 2012.

The CDC estimates that about 84 million U.S. adults have diabetes, but most do not know they have it.


Diabetes can cause a number of health complications if people don’t manage it properly. Many of these diseases are chronic, or long-term, but they can become life-threatening. Others need immediate medical attention as soon as they appear.

Complications can arise quickly if your blood sugar rises or falls too much.


If your blood glucose level drops below 70 mg/dL, it means hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. This can happen if a person who uses insulin takes more than he needs for a certain period. A blood glucose test at home can check for hypoglycemia.

It is necessary to know the early signs of hypoglycemia, as it can develop rapidly, leading to seizures and coma. However, it is easy to treat in the early stages.

Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Quick heartbeat
  • Mood changes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sweating

If symptoms are mild, a person can often resolve low blood sugar levels by taking:

  • A few pieces of candy
  • 1 cup of orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Glucose disc

The person should then wait 15 minutes, test blood sugar, and if it is still low, take another glucose tablet or sweet.

When levels return above 70 mg/dL, a person should eat a meal to stabilize glucose levels.

If it stays low for an hour or more, or if symptoms worsen, the patient should be taken to the emergency room.

Anyone suffering from repeated or severe hypoglycemia attacks should talk to their doctor, where they may need to modify their treatment plan.

Hyperglycemia and diabetic ketones (DKA)

If blood sugar levels rise too much, it may result in high blood sugar. If a person notices increased thirst and urination, they should check his blood sugar levels. If the blood glucose level is above the target level recommended by their doctor, they take the appropriate action.

Without treatment, a person with high blood sugar can suffer from diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which occurs when high levels of ketones accumulate in the blood, making them highly acidic. For this reason, a person should also test ketone levels. Ketoacidosis can lead to:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Smell on the breath
  • Dry mouth
  • nausea
  • Coma

They can be life-threatening. A person with these signs and symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.

People with high blood sugar should regularly talk to their doctor about modifying their treatment plan.

Blood glucose test kits and ketone test kits are available for purchase online. People should see their doctor how often they need to take the test.

Long-term complications

Keeping blood glucose levels at target levels can prevent complications that can become life-threatening and dangerous over time. Some possible complications of diabetes are:

  • Heart and vascular diseases
  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Foot damage
  • Eye damage and blindness
  • Kidney disease
  • Hearing problems
  • Skin problems

Effective management of blood glucose levels can reduce the risk of complications.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your doctor can diagnose type 2 diabetes through blood tests that measure blood glucose levels. Many people discover that they have high blood sugar during a routine screening test, but anyone with symptoms should see a doctor.

The treatment aims to maintain the stability of blood glucose levels at a healthy level and prevent complications. The main ways to do this are through lifestyle measures. These include:

  • A healthy diet
  • Access and maintain a healthy weight and optimal body mass index (BMI)
  • Physical activity
  • Get enough sleep
  • Avoid smoking or quit smoking
  • Take medications or insulin as recommended by your doctor

The difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes occurs when the body cannot store and use glucose properly, which is essential for energy. Sugar or glucose accumulates in the blood and does not reach the cells it needs, which can lead to serious complications.

Type 1 diabetes usually appears first in children and adolescents, but can also occur in the elderly. The immune system attacks pancreatic beta cells so that they cannot produce insulin. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes, which is often hereditary. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 5 percent of people with type 1 diabetes suffer.

Type 2 diabetes is likely to appear with age, but many children are now beginning to develop it. In this type, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body cannot use it effectively. Lifestyle factors seem to play a role in their development. According to the CDC, about 90-95 percent of diabetics have this type.

Both types of diabetes can lead to complications, such as heart and vascular diseases, kidney disease, vision loss, neurological conditions, and damage to blood vessels and organs.

The CDC estimates that more than 30 million people in the United States may have diabetes, but 25 percent don’t know they have it.

Another type is gestational diabetes. This occurs in pregnancy and usually disappears after birth, but then some people develop type 2 diabetes later in life.