By: Nikki Nies
Type II diabetes, aka noninsulin dependent diabetes or adult onset diabetes, has emerged as a health problem for the general public and health professionals. In some of classes, I’ve been taught that you can’t have an overweight or obese patient that doesn’t have diabetes. It doesn’t look right, if diabetes isn’t present without a larger waist circumference. I couldn’t provide information on type I diabetes without a follow up post explaining type II diabetes.
Unlike type 1, type II diabetes affects about 90-95% of all people with diabetes. Either the insulin produced in the pancreas is not enough for the body or the body does not recognize the insulin and is not used properly. With a lack of enough insulin used as it should, called insulin resistant, the glucose (aka sugar) can not get to the body’s necessary cells, which is needed as the body’s main source of energy. Then the insulin builds up in the walls of cells and the body won’t work properly. High blood glucose levels ensue causing hyperglycemia.
Although, anyone can have type II diabetes, being overweight/obese, physical inactivity,older age, women who have had gestational diabetes,family history of diabetes and/or those with metabolic syndrome can increase one’s risk for type II diabetes.
- Dry mouth
- Weight Loss
- Areas of darkened skin
- Slow healing sores
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Frequent infections of urinary tract, vagina and/or skin
- Blurred vision
- Numbing in the extremities
- Erectile Dysfunction
Problems associated with Type II Diabetes:
- Dehydration: the buildup of sugar in the cells can cause increased urination, which causes dehydration; increased urination is the attempt to clear sugar from the body
- Damage to the body: with time, high glucose levels can cause damage to small blood vessels in eyes, kidneys and/or heart leading to artherosclerosis
- Hyperosmolar nonketotic diabetic coma: May occur once one’s become dehydrated and increased urination
- Decreased sensation and poor blood circulation: with artherosclerosis and damage to nerves, it can lead to decreased sensation and circulation; can lead to increased infections, ulcers, digestive problems, vomiting and/or diarrhea
Common tests used to diagnose diabetes include checking one’s hemoglobin A1C, a oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), fasting plasma glucose test and a random or causal plasma glucose test.
American Diabetes Association (ADA) Diagnostic Criteria for Diagnosing Diabetes
|Fasting Plasma Glucose||<100 mg/dL||100-125 mg/dL||126+ mg/dL|
|OGTT—2 hr post glucose rich beverage||<140 mg/dL||140-199 mg/dL||200 mg/dL or greater|
|Casual or random plasma glucose and symptoms||200 mg/dL or greater|
|A1C||<5.7%||5.7-6.4%||6.5% or greater|
Like type I diabetes, there’s “instant” cure with type 2 diabetes, but it is manageable. Constant monitoring of blood sugar levels decreases risk of complications and increases one’s quality of life. As a lifelong chronic disease, treatment is “life long” as well. It includes regular insulin injections, exercise, eating healthy foods, educating oneself on diabetes, monitoring blood sugar and maintaining a healthy weight.
It’s imperative to learn certain skills once diagnosed with diabetes:
- How to handle sick days
- Where to buy diabetes supplies and how to store them
- What to eat and when
- How to test and record blood glucose
- How to take medications, if needed
There’s many health professionals, clinics and resources available to diabetics. Don’t be afraid to reach out to said help and take a day at at time in the monitoring of your diabetes.