What is type 2 diabetes?
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Diabetes is a disease
that affects millions of people. It occurs when the body is no longer
able to properly use the sugar from the food you eat. Some of the food
you eat is turned into glucose, a special type of sugar that your body
uses for energy. The pancreas is an organ that makes insulin, which
helps sugar get into the cells of your body, where it is burned as fuel.
If you have diabetes, your body makes little or no insulin, or your
body has difficulty using the insulin that it does make. Even for people
on an appropriate diet, this may cause sugar to build up in the blood
above normal levels.
No one knows the
exact cause of type 2 diabetes. It is more likely to occur in those
who are overweight, have high blood pressure, are over 40 years old,
have a family history of diabetes, or are members of certain ethnic
groups. Insulin is sometimes thought of as a key that unlocks your bodys
cells to allow sugar to enter them. However, when your cells are resistant
to the effects of insulin, they dont recognize insulin as a key.
As a result:5
- sugar cant
enter your bodys cells in the normal way
- your cells dont
have enough fuel for energy
- your blood sugar
level rises higher than normal
How Does Medicine
- before mealsbetween
80 and 120 mg/dL
- 1 to 2 hours
after mealsless than 180 mg/dL
Staying in control
of your diabetes is very important. Your doctor will help you determine
your target range for your blood glucose. It is important to call your
doctor when your blood sugar before meals is consistently over 140 mg/dL,
because this can be dangerous.7
Diabetes can cause
serious health problems, often without symptoms. These problems can
develop after many years of having constant or repeated high blood sugar
levels. If your blood sugar is out of control, you have a higher risk
of developing the following:10
- kidney disease
- eye damage
- nerve damage
- problems with
your legs and feet
- heart disease
The best thing to
do to prevent these problems is to take good care of yourself and to
keep your blood sugar in your target range.
Do I Know if My Diabetes Is in Control?
There are two good
ways to know if your diabetes is in control. You should do both. First,
test your blood sugar yourself as often as your doctor suggests. Many
different types of blood glucose meters are available for personal use
that can help you test your blood sugar. You should also keep track
of your results in a diary and take it with you to your office visits
so your doctor can check for any trends.
The second way (and
sometimes a more important way to know if your diabetes is in control)
is to have a glycosylated hemoglobin test, or HbA1c.
This test is done in your doctors office about every 3 months.
It shows your “average” control over the previous 2 to 3 months.10
The American Diabetes Association recommends that your HbA1c
be less than 7%.12
Else Should I Do to Control My Diabetes?
You have the most
important role in your diabetes care. If you take the following actions,
you can make your treatment plan a success:
- exercise regularly
- follow a good
- take your medicine
- test your blood
- get regular
care from your doctor
see article “Adding Activity to Your Life Is Easy – Just Walk Out the Door”
I Always Have to Take Medicine to Control My Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease
that changes over time. With time, most people with type 2 diabetes
produce less and less insulin. Therefore, your treatment will probably
change over time too. You may need to add another diabetes medication
to the one you are already taking or start taking insulin. Having to
change your therapy doesnt mean your diabetes is getting worse.
Its part of finding the best way to treat your particular needs.
You and your healthcare professional just have to find the right combination
diabetes may not be easy. It takes time, effort, and courage to learn
about living with diabetes and the changes it can bring to your life.
You may feel a little overwhelmed, but youve taken the first step
in learning to take care of yourself. You have everything to gain by
taking control of your diabetes. You can do it! If you have any questions
about your diabetes, be sure to talk with your healthcare professional.
To learn more about
diabetes, visit Eli Lilly and Companys patient education web site
Managing Your DiabetesSM,
or the American Diabetes Association.
© 1999, Takeda Pharmaceuticals America, Inc. and Eli Lilly