About Type 2 Diabetes
No one knows exactly what causes type 2 diabetes. But scientists are working hard to find out what’s behind it. We do know that some things, called risk factors, increase your risk of having type 2 diabetes.
Common risk factors for type 2 diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, the following health factors are related to type 2 diabetes.
Although not all of the genes that cause type 2 diabetes have been identified, changes in genes can be linked to type 2 diabetes. These genetic changes can be passed down in the family.
Race and ethnicity
Research studying diabetes in certain ethnic groups supports the idea that genes play a role in type 2 diabetes. African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics (except Cuban Americans), and Native Americans have higher rates of diabetes than whites in the United States.
Extra body fat is also related to type 2 diabetes. Nearly 9 in 10 people with type 2 diabetes are obese or have been at one time. Obesity is a risk factor because it can promote resistance to insulin. Being obese, however doesn’t mean a person will get type 2 diabetes.
As people get older, they may be at greater risk for type 2 diabetes. Out of all the new cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States, half occur in people over 55 years old. However, even younger adults and adolescents can be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy)
It's estimated that 35% to 60% of women who get diabetes while they're pregnant (called gestational diabetes) will eventually develop type 2 diabetes.
Why it’s important to get diagnosed
Millions of people with type 2 diabetes are undiagnosed and don’t know that they have type 2 diabetes. If you are developing type 2 diabetes, you may not notice any symptoms at first. You may not feel that something is wrong, so you don’t go to your health care provider to get tested.
Finding out if you have type 2 diabetes is important because high blood sugar can damage your body and lead to other health problems if left untreated. When you know about the condition, you can take steps to manage it. Speak with your health care provider about testing for diabetes and getting treated, if necessary.
Managing diabetes around your needs
There are common goals for managing type 2 diabetes, such as controlling blood sugar and living a healthy, active life. But people who have type 2 diabetes also have special needs when it comes to diabetes care. It is important that you work with your health care providers to build a personalized diabetes care plan.
If you feel frustrated by the details of coping with type 2 diabetes, you're not alone. It’s important to learn to recognize these feelings and find ways to manage them.
Cornerstones4Care® has many tips for coping with even the hardest parts of managing your type 2 diabetes. You'll find helpful ways to:
- Change the way you eat
- Inspire you to stay active
- Check your blood sugar as directed by your diabetes care team
Your type 2 diabetes plan is key to managing your diabetes:
- Learning about diabetes may help you make healthy choices
- Making healthy choices may lead to lifestyle changes
- Changing a few things may help you in a lot of other ways
- Sticking with your care plan may help you be yourself and still manage your diabetes