Patient-education guide: Type 2 diabetes

June 2004 
Volume 34  Number 6
Pages 56 - 57
  PDF Version Available!


  • What is Type 2 diabetes?

  • How will my health care provider know I have Type 2 diabetes?

  • How will my Type 2 diabetes be treated?


  • Table. How does my d...

    What is Type 2 diabetes?

    If you have Type 2 diabetes, your body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use it the right way. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that helps move sugar (also called glucose ) from your blood into body cells for energy. If you have Type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in your blood and body cells don't get the energy they need. High blood glucose levels can also damage your blood vessels, heart, kidneys, nerves, eyes, and feet.

    If you have Type 2 diabetes, you may feel fine, or you may have many of these signs and symptoms:

    * You urinate often.

    * You're always thirsty.

    * You're always hungry.

    * You're irritable.

    * You often feel tired.

    * Your vision is blurry.

    * You have problems thinking clearly.

    * You feel clumsy.

    * You've recently lost weight without trying.

    * Your feet or hands tingle or feel numb.

    * Cuts and sores heal slowly and tend to get infected.

    If you have any of these problems, tell your health care provider.

    How will my health care provider know I have Type 2 diabetes?

    First, your health care provider will ask you questions about your symptoms and general health. Then, he may perform one or more of these tests:

    * Fasting blood glucose test . You'll have to stop eating and drinking for at least 8 hours before this blood test, which measures the amount of glucose in your blood. If two tests show that your blood glucose level is 126 mg/dl or higher, you may have Type 2 diabetes.

    * Random (nonfasting) blood glucose test . You don't have to stop eating or drinking before this blood test, ...

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