Type 2 Diabetes – Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

You might be Saving a Life! Click to Share

Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which your body can’t control the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. In type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t respond to insulin properly, and you may not produce enough. This causes your blood glucose level to become too high.

There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form. About 3.3 million people in the UK have been diagnosed with diabetes, and of these, more than 9 out of 10 have type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is more common among older people, but you can develop it at any age. It’s becoming more common in young adults and children. It’s usually associated with being overweight and not very active.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body stops reacting to insulin properly, and you may also not produce enough of insulin. Insulin is a hormone (a chemical made by your body) that controls the amount of glucose in your blood. It helps glucose move from your blood into your body tissues – like your muscle cells – when you need a quick form of energy. If your body is not responding to insulin properly, your blood glucose level can become too high.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, you may not have any obvious symptoms. Your diabetes may be discovered during a routine medical check-up with your GP.

If you do have symptoms of type 2 diabetes, you may:

  • pass urine more often than usual
  • be constantly thirsty
  • lose weight for no obvious reason
  • be extremely tired
  • have blurred vision
  • have itchy skin around your genitals or get regular genito-urinary infections, such as thrush

If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP.

Your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine you. They may ask you to have a blood test for glucose. Other tests can include the following.

  • A fasting blood glucose test. You will need to have this test at a time when you haven’t eaten anything for at least eight hours.
  • Glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1C) test. Your HbA1C level is a measure of how much glucose has been taken up by your red blood cells. It can show if you’ve had high blood glucose levels over a long period of time.
  • An oral glucose tolerance test. This is when your blood glucose is measured before and two hours after you’ve had a high-glucose drink. You’ll only need to have this if initial blood tests haven’t been able to determine whether or not you have diabetes.

If your blood test results suggest that you have type 2 diabetes, your GP may advise you to have repeat tests before confirming your diagnosis.

If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be referred to a specialist diabetes clinic.

Diagnosis of type 2 diabetes

Your GP will ask about your symptoms and examine you. They may ask you to have a blood test for glucose. Other tests can include the following.

  • A fasting blood glucose test. You will need to have this test at a time when you haven’t eaten anything for at least eight hours.
  • Glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1C) test. Your HbA1C level is a measure of how much glucose has been taken up by your red blood cells. It can show if you’ve had high blood glucose levels over a long period of time.
  • An oral glucose tolerance test. This is when your blood glucose is measured before and two hours after you’ve had a high-glucose drink. You’ll only need to have this if initial blood tests haven’t been able to determine whether or not you have diabetes.

If your blood test results suggest that you have type 2 diabetes, your GP may advise you to have repeat tests before confirming your diagnosis.

If you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be referred to a specialist diabetes clinic.

Treatment options for type 2 diabetes

Treatment for type 2 diabetes is aimed at controlling your blood glucose level. This may be with changes to your lifestyle and if necessary, medicines that your doctor can prescribe.

Self-help

You can help to control your blood glucose level by making some changes to your diet and trying to be more physically active.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with regular meals, three times a day. Include carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat pasta or potatoes, in each meal and eat at least three portions of oily fish each week. Your GP may refer you to a dietitian, who can advise you about keeping your blood glucose level under control.
  • Aim to do 150 minutes of moderate exercise over a week in sessions of 10 minutes or more. This will help you to stay a healthy weight and control your blood glucose level.

Medicines

Your doctor may recommend you try medicines if lifestyle changes alone don’t keep your blood glucose level under control. There are many types of diabetes medicines available.

Your doctor will usually begin by offering you a medicine called metformin. Metformin works by reducing the amount of glucose that’s released from your liver into your blood. It also improves the way your muscles use glucose.

If metformin doesn’t help you reach your target blood glucose level, your doctor can prescribe a range of other medicines instead. Sometimes, you’ll need to take more than one of these medicines at a time. These medicines include the following.

  • Insulin secretagogues, such as gliclazide, glipizide and glimepiride. These help your pancreas to produce more insulin.
  • DPP-4 inhibitors, such as sitagliptin, saxagliptin or linagliptin. These help your body to produce insulin when it’s needed.
  • Pioglitazone, which helps to improve how your body responds to insulin.
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors including dapagliflozin, empagliflozin and canagliflozin. These tablets can lower your blood glucose and also help you to lose weight.
  • GLP-1 agonists, such as exenatide or liraglutide. These are given by injection and work by helping your body to make more insulin. They can also help you lose weight.

For more information about medicines for type 2 diabetes, speak to your doctor or diabetes specialist nurse.

Insulin injections

Your doctor may suggest you have insulin injections if lifestyle changes and medicines can’t keep your blood glucose level under control.

You’ll usually need to inject yourself with insulin once or twice a day, using either a small needle or a pen-type syringe with replaceable cartridges. You can be prescribed several different types of insulin. Some work more quickly than others and they act for different lengths of time. Your doctor or nurse will advise you which type is best for you.

If you have insulin injections, your doctor or nurse will suggest that you monitor your blood glucose level with a glucose meter at home. This involves taking a pinprick of blood from your finger and putting a drop on a testing strip. You place the testing strip into the glucose meter, which reads it and shows you the result automatically. Monitoring your blood glucose level will help you understand how to adjust your insulin dose according to how much carbohydrate you eat.

Your ‘normal’ blood glucose range will be specific to you, but a general guide for adults with type 2 diabetes is:

  • before meals: 4 to 7 mmol/litre
  • two hours after meals: less than 9 mmol/litre

Your doctor, GP or diabetes specialist nurse will show you how to monitor your blood glucose level and tell you how often you need to check it.

Source: bupa

You might be Saving a Life! Click to Share

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *