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14 Facts about Type 2 Diabetes (November 14th is World Diabetes Day)

  1. Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in the U.S. Approximately one-third of the population has diabetes or “prediabetes”, the precursor to type 2 diabetes
  2. 95% of those people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
  3. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes may not be obvious. Type 2 diabetes develops slowly, and the symptoms may be shrugged off as related to something else like aging.
  4. Type 2 diabetes is more common in certain ethnic populations – African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders have a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  5. The risk for developing type 2 diabetes increases with age (over 45 years of age).
  6. You have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you have relatives with type 2 diabetes (a parent or sibling).
  7. Excess body weight, particularly weight carried in the abdominal area, is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes.
  8. The most significant risk to long term health from type 2 diabetes is a greatly increased risk for heart disease.
  9. Type 2 diabetes can be managed – controlling blood sugar levels and reducing the risk for heart disease – by practicing a healthy lifestyle (diet and exercise), or a healthy lifestyle plus medication.
  10. Eating too many sweets is not a direct cause of type 2 diabetes, and simply avoiding sweets or sugar will not control blood glucose readings. Monitoring consumption of all carbohydrates is one key aspect of a healthy diet when you have diabetes.
  11. There are about 160 type 2 medications on the market (including generic versions, drug combinations, and insulin formulations). Non-insulin medications are grouped into 8 different “classes” which work differently to control blood glucose levels.
  12. In 1955, the first oral type 2 diabetes medication became available, a sulfonylurea. Metformin, the most popular type 2 diabetes oral medication, became available in 1995.
  13. Insulin is the most effective way to control blood glucose levels, but the inconvenience of multiple injections and the risk for low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) generally leads physicians to try other options first when treating type 2 diabetes. Consequently, people with type 2 diabetes often assume incorrectly that a recommendation for insulin therapy is a desperate last resort.
  14. The best news of all, type 2 diabetes is manageable, and you can live a happy, healthy, filled life in spite of diabetes.

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