Type 2 diabetes is often referred to as “adult onset” or “insulin non-dependent” diabetes. With type 2 diabetes, the pancreas can still make insulin, but either it doesn’t make enough, or the body’s cells don’t respond to it as effectively as they used to. When the cells don’t respond as effectively, this is called “insulin resistance.” This means glucose is not getting into the cells where it’s needed to function properly.
Type 2 diabetes often runs in families, but the following risk factors can also increase a person’s chances of developing it:
Symptoms can include:
To determine whether someone has type 2 diabetes, doctors may use one or more of these tests:
Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test: This measures the percentage of blood sugar attached to red blood cells, or hemoglobin over the last six to 12 weeks. Since a red blood cell can live about 12 weeks, this test shows the average over that time. An A1C of 6.5 percent or higher indicates diabetes. This test is often performed twice to make sure it’s accurate.
|A1C Test Results|
|Normal||Less than 5.7%|
|Pre-diabetes||5.7% to 6.4%|
|Diabetes||6.5% or higher|
Random blood sugar test: A blood sample is taken at a random time and measures the amount of glucose, or sugar, present in the blood at that moment. If the sugar level is 200 milligrams or more per decimeter (mg/dL) or 11.1 (or 11.1 mmol/L), it may indicate diabetes.
Oral glucose tolerance test: This involves drinking a sugary beverage after fasting and then testing the blood several times for up to two hours to determine how the body is responding to the sugar intake.
Fasting blood sugar test: A blood sample is taken after an overnight fast. It measures the level of sugar in the blood. A glucose level of less than 100 milligrams or more per decimeter (mg/dL) is normal. Levels 101 to 125 mg/dL indicates prediabetes, and 126 mg/dL and over in two separate tests indicates diabetes.
Diabetes autoantibody tests: These blood tests determine whether a person has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It looks for antibodies, or special proteins, that attack viruses or other foreign substances found in the blood. People with type 1 diabetes have these antibodies, but those with type 2 do not.
Type 2 diabetes can be managed or sometimes even reversed by making lifestyle changes that include:
In addition to lifestyle changes, some people with type 2 diabetes must manage their condition in these ways:
Fingerstick checks: This uses a small sharp needle to poke the finger to draw blood, which is then placed on a glucose test strip and fed into a meter that provides a blood sugar level reading.
What can happen if type 2 diabetes goes untreated?
Diabetes affects many of the body’s systems. If it isn’t managed properly, it can lead to severe complications, some of which could lead to death. Complications include:
This is why it’s important that people with type 2 diabetes work with their healthcare team to ensure they are effectively managing their diabetes. Managing diabetes is ongoing and can be challenging. If you need support, remember Medtronic is here to help wherever you are along your journey.
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4. Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Reduction in the Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes with Lifestyle Intervention or Metformin. New England Journal of Medicine. 2002;346(6):393-403. doi:10.1056/nejmoa012512.