Living with Type 2 Diabetes

by Katelyn Schwanke
(last updated September 5, 2008)

Type 2 diabetes is one of several types of diabetes mellitus (diabetes that deals with your body's ability to use carbohydrates). Diabetes, in general terms, is found in people who either are insulin dependent or insulin resistant. Insulin is a hormone from your pancreas that helps sugar molecules (glucose) from your food to enter your muscles for use as energy. People who are insulin dependent do not make enough insulin. People who are insulin resistant have muscles and other tissues in their body that do not respond to insulin's efforts to supply glucose-based energy. Another term for insulin resistance is type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is typically diagnosed in late teens or adulthood for reasons still not completely known. Although chemical causes have not been solidly identified, the health community has been able to identify several risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Major risk factors include obesity, inactivity, age, and family history.

If you are overweight, generally inactive, over the age of sixteen and have type 2 diabetes in your family, you are at risk. If you have already been diagnosed you will find that although sometimes inconvenient, living with type 2 diabetes can be quite manageable. A few keys to living with type 2 diabetes are making sure you eat a healthy diet with lots of fiber and vegetables, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight for your height and age, and living an active lifestyle. Medicine can be completely avoided in some cases if you follow these healthy guidelines.

Exercise and eating right are sometimes viewed as "cures" for type 2 diabetes. Sometimes, however, you may need to take medications prescribed by your doctor to act along side exercise and healthy eating. The most common medications prescribed for type 2 diabetes are those that help the body increase its own insulin levels or those that compensate for the body's resistance to insulin.

Type 2 diabetes can be very easy to live with, just follow your doctor's advice and eat right, exercise and you will generally find positive results that allow you to be healthier and happy.

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