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Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes mellitus. It is also known as adult-onset diabetes or noninsulin dependent diabetes, in a reference to two of its frequent distinguishing characteristics. Like type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is not curable, but it can be managed with the assistance of a doctor and some work on the part of the patient. Being diagnosed with the condition can be frightening, but a doctor should be able to refer patients to support groups and other forms of assistance so that they can cope with the condition.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition which is caused by a lack of insulin production in the body, or an inability to process insulin properly. Insulin is the compound which allows sugar to be absorbed and used by the body. Without insulin, sugar builds up in the bloodstream, starving the cells of energy and potentially leading to serious medical problems such as blindness, kidney failure, nervous system problems, and heart attacks. Because this condition can become fatal, patients should not ignore the symptoms and risk factors of diabetes. Pets are also susceptible, so responsible pet owners should keep an eye on the health of their companion animals as well.
In the case of type 2 diabetes, the onset of diabetes tends to be slow, which can make it difficult to identify. Some common symptoms include lethargy, hunger, thirst, and frequent urination. A doctor can perform a test to determine whether the cause of these problems is diabetes. Fortunately for patients, type 2 diabetes is largely preventable through diet and exercise, especially among at risk groups.
It appears that Native Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and people of Asian or African descent may be more at risk for type 2 diabetes than others. These individuals seem to have genetic precursors for the disease, which can be activated by inactivity or excessive food consumption. For these reasons, at risk individuals need to be especially careful to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and see a doctor for frequent checkups. If the condition is identified early, it is much more treatable.
A mild case of type 2 diabetes can often be controlled with diet and exercise. Prescription medications may also be used to address the condition. In more severe cases, supplemental insulin may be needed, making the term “noninsulin dependent” diabetes a bit of a misnomer. In all cases, it is important to receive regular medical care from a trusted provider to treat the condition and identify potentially serious problems before they become unmanageable.