Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms, Causes, Medication and Prevention

Last Updated on November 8, 2022 by

People who are middle-aged or older are most likely to observe Type 2 Diabetes symptoms. It used to be called adult-onset diabetes. But type 2 diabetes also affects kids and teens, mainly because of childhood obesity.

Type 2 diabetes is an alteration in the way the body regulates and uses sugar (glucose) for fuel. This long-term (chronic) condition causes excess blood sugar circulation. Ultimately, high blood sugar can lead to circulatory, nervous, and immune disorders. 

In type 2 diabetes, there are mainly two work-related problems. The pancreas does not make enough insulin – a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar through cells – and cells react badly to insulin and absorb less sugar. 

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Previously, type 2 diabetes was known as adult diabetes, but type 1 and type 2 diabetes can appear during childhood and adulthood. Type 2 is more common in the elderly, but the increase in the number of obese children has led to an increase in type 2 diabetes in young people. 

There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but weight loss, eating right, and exercise can all help you manage the disease. If diet and exercise aren’t enough to control your blood sugar, you may also need diabetes medication or insulin therapy.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. In fact, you can live with type 2 diabetes for years without knowing it. When signs and symptoms are present, they may include:  

  • Increased thirst   
  • Frequent urination  
  • Increased hunger  
  • Unintentional weight loss  
  • Fatigue  
  • Blurred vision  
  • Sores that heal slowly  
  • Infections frequent  
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet  
  • Areas of dark skin, usually in the armpits and neck 


Type 2 diabetes is primarily the result of two related problems. Muscle, fat, and liver cells become resistant to insulin. Because these cells do not interact with insulin normally, they do not absorb enough sugar. The pancreas is unable to make enough insulin to manage blood sugar.  

The exact reason why this happens is not known, but being overweight and inactivity are the main contributing factors. 

How insulin works?

Insulin is a hormone that comes from the gland behind and under the stomach (pancreas). Insulin regulates the way the body uses sugar as follows:

  • Blood sugar stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin.   
  • Insulin circulates in the blood, allowing sugar to enter cells.  
  • The amount of sugar in the blood decreases.  
  • In response to this decrease, the pancreas releases less insulin. 

How Glucose Works ?  

Glucose, a sugar, is an important source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Glucose use and regulation include the following:  

  • Glucose comes from two main sources: food and liver.   
  • Glucose is absorbed into the bloodstream where it enters cells with the help of insulin.  
  • Your liver stores and produces glucose.  
  • When your glucose level is low, such as after you haven’t eaten in a while, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep your glucose levels in a normal range.  

This process does not work well in type 2 diabetes. Instead of entering cells, sugar builds up in the bloodstream. If the blood sugar level rises, the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas release more insulin. and cannot make enough insulin to meet the needs of the body.  

In rarer type 1 diabetes, the immune system mistakenly destroys beta cells so that the body has little or no insulin available.

Risk factors 

  • Physical activity helps control weight, uses glucose for energy, and makes cells more sensitive to insulin.  
  • Family history: The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if your parents or siblings have type 2 diabetes.  
  • Race and ethnicity. While it is not known why, people of certain races and ethnicities – including blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asians and Pacific Islanders – are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites.  
  • Blood lipid level: Increased risk is associated with low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol – the “good” cholesterol – and high triglyceride levels.  
  • Age: The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after 45 years.  
  • Prediabetes: Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar level is above normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes.  
  • Risks associated with pregnancy: Your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases if you developed gestational diabetes during pregnancy or if you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds (4 kilograms).  
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome: Polycystic ovary syndrome – a common condition characterized by irregular periods, excess hair growth, and obesity – increases the risk of diabetes  
  • Areas of dark skin, usually in the armpits and neck: This condition often indicates insulin resistance. 


Type 2 diabetes affects many important organs, including the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes, and kidneys. In addition, the factors that increase the risk of diabetes are risk factors for other serious chronic diseases.

Managing diabetes and controlling blood sugar can reduce the risk of these complications or coexisting conditions (co-morbidities).  
Potential complications of diabetes and common comorbidities include 

  • Diseases of the heart and blood vessels: Diabetes is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and narrowing of blood vessels (atherosclerosis).  
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy) in the limbs: High blood sugar over time can damage or destroy nerves, causing tingling, numbness, burning, pain, or eventual loss of sensation that usually begins on the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. 
  • Other nerve damage: Damage to the nerves of the heart can contribute to irregular heart rhythms. Damage to the nerves in the digestive system can cause problems with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. For men, nerve damage can cause erectile dysfunction.  
  • Kidney disease: Diabetes can lead to chronic kidney disease or end-stage irreversible kidney disease, which may require dialysis or kidney transplant.  
  • Eye damage: Diabetes increases the risk of serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, and can damage blood vessels in the retina, potentially leading to blindness.  
  • Skin diseases: Diabetes can make you more susceptible to skin problems, including bacterial and fungal infections.
  • Slow healing: If left untreated, cuts and blisters can develop into serious infections, which may not heal well. A serious injury may require the amputation of the fingers, feet, or legs.  
  • Hearing impairment. Hearing problems are more common in people with diabetes.  
  • Sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is common in people with type 2 diabetes. Obesity may be the main contributing factor to both conditions. It is not known whether treatment for sleep apnea improves blood sugar control.  
  • Dementia: Type 2 diabetes appears to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that cause dementia. Poor blood sugar control is linked to a faster decline in memory and other thinking skills. 

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment 

Managing type 2 diabetes involves a mix of lifestyle changes and medications.  

Lifestyle Changes  

  • You may be able to reach target blood sugar levels with diet and exercise alone. 
  • Weight loss: Losing extra pounds can help. While losing 5% of your body weight is a good thing, losing at least 7% and keeping it off seems to be ideal. This means that a person weighing 180 pounds can change their blood sugar level by losing about 13 pounds. Losing weight can seem overwhelming, but portion control and eating healthy foods is good place to start.  
  • Eat healthily: There is no specific diet for type 2 diabetes. A registered dietitian can teach you about carbohydrates and help you set up a meal plan that you can follow.
  • Focus on:  Eat fewer calories ,Cut down on refined carbohydrates, especially sweets , Add fruits and vegetables to your diet , Get more fiber.  
  • Exercise: Try to 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity each day You can walk, cycle, swim, or do any other activity that increases your heart rate.Pair it with strength training, like yoga or weight lifting. If you are taking a blood sugar lowering medication, you may need a snack before a workout.  
  • Check your blood sugar level Depending on the treatment, especially if you are taking insulin, your doctor will tell you if and how often you need to check your blood sugar. 


If lifestyle changes are not getting you to target blood sugar levels, you may need medication. Some of the most common for type 2 diabetes include:  

  • Metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet): It is usually the first medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver and helps the body respond better to the insulin it produces.
  • Sulfonylureas: This group of drugs helps your body make more insulin.They include glimepiride (Amaryl), glipizide (Glucotrol, Metaglip) and glyburide (DiaBeta, Micronase).  
  • Meglitinides: They help your body make more insulin and work faster than sulfonylureas. You can take nateglinide (Starlix) or repaglinide (Prandin).  
  • Thiazolidinediones: Like metformin, they make you more sensitive to insulin. You can take pioglitazone (Actos) or rosiglitazone (Avandia).But they also increase the risk of heart problems, so they’re usually not a first choice for treatment.  
  • DPP4 inhibitors: These medicines, linagliptin (Tradjenta), saxagliptin (Onglyza), and sitagliptin (Januvia) help lower blood sugar, but can also cause joint pain and inflame the pancreas.  
  • GLP1 receptor agonists: Take these medicines with a needle to slow digestion and lower blood sugar. Some of the most common are exenatide (Byetta, Bydureon), liraglutide (Victoza), and semaglutide (Ozempic).  
  • SGLT2 inhibitors: These help the kidneys to filter more glucose. You can take canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), or empagliflozin (Jardiance). Empagliflozin has also been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of hospitalization or death from heart failure.  
  • Insulin: You may have long-lasting injections at night, such as insulin detemir (Levemir) or insulin glargine (Lantus).

Even if you make lifestyle changes and take your medications as directed, your blood sugar can get worse over time. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. Diabetes is progressive and many people eventually need more than one medication.  

When you take more than one medicine to control Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms, it is called combination therapy. You and your doctor should work together to find the best combination for you. Usually, you will continue to take metformin and add something else.

What it is may depend on your situation. Some medicines control spikes in blood sugar (your doctor might call it hyperglycemia) that occur right after meals, for example. 


Healthy lifestyle choices can help prevent type 2 diabetes, and this is true even if you have biological parents living with diabetes. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow or stop the progression to diabetes.  

A healthy lifestyle includes

  •  Eat healthy foods Choose foods low in fat and calories and high in fiber Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  •  Engage in physical activity: Aim for 150 minutes or more per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, biking, running, or swimming.  
  •  Lose weight: Losing a modest amount of weight and keeping it at bay can delay the progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, losing 7-10% of your body weight can lower your risk of diabetes.  
  •  Avoid inactivity for long periods of time: Staying still for long periods of time can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and be moving for at least a few minutes.  
  • For people with prediabetes, metformin (Fortamet, Glumetza, others), an oral diabetes medicine, may be prescribed to reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms. This is usually prescribed for older people who are obese and unable to lower blood sugar levels with lifestyle changes. 

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