Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes Essentials

Help with mastering all the basics of T2D

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Frequently Asked Questions

Your lifestyle choices are typically what trigger type 2 diabetes.

Especially living with excess weight, not getting enough physical activity, and eating a lot of ultra-processed foods high in sugar and refined carbs.

Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes are outside of your control, including your age and genetic predisposition.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body has developed insulin resistance. In this condition, your cells are no longer able to efficiently use insulin to take up glucose from your bloodstream. This forces your pancreas to work harder to make more insulin.

Over time, this process can damage cells in your pancreas, and they may even stop producing insulin entirely.

As a result, glucose builds up in your bloodstream, damaging your tissues and raising your risk of other diseases and complications.

Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly. The symptoms may be mild and easy to dismiss at first, and include:

If you don’t take steps to treat type 2 diabetes, the high blood sugar levels that come along with it can damage your nerves and organs, leading to dangerous complications.

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes may have similar names, but they’re different diseases with unique causes.

To understand both, you need to know that insulin is a hormone the body produces that enables cells to take up sugar from the blood to use as fuel. Both types of diabetes disrupt this process but in different ways.

  • Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin. This means you can’t produce your own insulin and need to take injections. It can develop suddenly and may be caused by genetics and other unknown factors.
  • Type 2 diabetes is when your cells become insulin resistant, not taking up blood sugar like normal, even when insulin is present. It often develops over time and is heavily influenced by lifestyle factors, like poor diet and lack of exercise.

You can be diagnosed with either type of diabetes at any age, though type 1 diabetes is more commonly diagnosed in children, teens, and young adults.

Everyday life is different depending on which type you have.

With type 2 diabetes, your main goal is to keep your blood sugar levels from rising too high (or too low, if you’re on insulin or certain medications). Your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes, medication, or both.

With type 1 diabetes, the main everyday goal is to keep blood sugar levels from going too high or too low — balancing diet, exercise, and insulin injections.

Prediabetes can occur in anyone. If you receive a prediabetes diagnosis, it means you have a higher-than-normal blood sugar level. But it’s not high enough to qualify as diabetes.

Left unchecked, prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes.

Lifestyle factors that can contribute include: eating a lot of sugar and refined carbs and not a lot of fiber, not getting much exercise, and smoking.

Prediabetes doesn’t usually have noticeable symptoms, and a lot of people don’t know they have it.

If you have prediabetes, there are actions you can take to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Yes. While you can’t cure type 2 diabetes, you can cause it to go into remission.

Diabetes remission is when a person’s A1C level (measured with a blood test) is less than 6.5% after stopping diabetes medication for 3 months or more.

Doctors don’t use the term “cure” because, once a person has a diagnosis, they will always risk developing high blood sugar due to genetic factors and underlying problems with their beta cells.

Treatments to help type 2 diabetes go into remission include:

  • losing weight
  • getting more exercise
  • making long-term changes to your diet — including lowering your intake of sugar and refined carbs
  • low carb diets can help
  • intermittent fasting
  • medication

You’ll need to stay consistent to keep diabetes under control. Otherwise, blood sugar levels can easily rise again.

KEY STEPS TO TAKE AFTER A DIABETES DIAGNOSIS

  • STEP 1
    Cut back on carbs
  • STEP 2
    Move more
  • STEP 3
    Monitor your blood sugar