Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes (sometimes called mature onset diabetes) is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90% of cases diabetes. This disease affects nearly 17 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Out of the 17 million Americans with type 2 diabetes, it is estimated that only half are aware they have diabetes. Even more staggering is that it is estimated that over 100 million people around the world have type 2 diabetes.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Your body gets energy by making glucose from foods like bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, milk and fruit. To use this glucose, your body produces insulin (a hormone) that helps your body control the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Type 2 diabetes is a disease in which your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body does not properly use the insulin it makes.

What does this mean?

If you have type 2 diabetes, glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used for energy.  Over time, high blood glucose levels can cause complications such as blindness, heart disease, kidney problems, nerve damage and erectile dysfunction. Fortunately, good diabetes care and management can prevent or delay the onset of these complications.

The Good News

You can live a long and healthy life by keeping your blood glucose levels (the amount of sugar in your blood) in the target range set by your doctor.  This can be done by:

  • Eating healthy meals and snacks
  • Enjoying regular physical activity
  • Taking diabetes medications (including insulin), if prescribed by your doctor

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive, life-long condition that over time may be more difficult to keep your blood glucose levels in your target range.  Your doctor can help by working with you to adjust your food plan, activity and medications.

Managing Your Diabetes

Here are some ideas on how you can manage your diabetes and help maintain your overall health and wellness.

  • Don’t smoke
  • Follow a balanced meal plan
  • Be physically active
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Take your medication as prescribed
  • Manage your stress effectively
  • Keep your blood pressure close to target level
  • Check your blood glucose levels regularly and keep them within your target range
  • Keep your cholesterol and other blood fats within your target range
  • Take care of your feet
  • In addition to regular check-ups with your doctor, also include regular visits to your dentist and eye care specialist (every one to two years)

Get Support

You might have a hard time accepting that you or a family member has type 2 diabetes.  It is not unusual to feel scared, overwhelmed, or even angry.  A positive and realistic attitude towards your diabetes can help you manage your condition.  Talk to others who have diabetes or consider joining a peer-support group.

Be sure to check out other articles on Cooking For Diabetics.[ad name=”Google Adsense – Horizontal”]