Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors, Symptoms & Treatments

Due to poor food quality and an increase in sedentary lifestyle, type 2 diabetes is on the rise. According to the CDC, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes and approximately 95% of those cases are type 2 diabetes. Additionally, an estimated 96 million Americans have prediabetes. While prevention is key, healthy lifestyle changes can also help treat symptoms. Learn more about type 2 diabetes and what the risk factors are for this disease.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that occurs when blood sugar (or blood glucose) is too high. Glucose is the main source of energy for the body and mainly comes from the food we eat. Insulin, which is a hormone made in the pancreas, helps glucose get to the cells to be converted to energy. If a person has type 2 diabetes, their pancreas either doesn’t make enough insulin or the body isn’t able to convert properly. Because of this, too much glucose remains in the blood. 

This form of diabetes is the most common and unfortunately cases are growing each year, especially among children and young adults. It is not entirely known why some people develop type 2 diabetes, but there are two very distinct risk factors: being overweight and inactive

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

These factors may increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Obesity
  • Fat stored around the abdomen
  • Inactivity
  • Family history
  • Cholesterol
  • Age
  • Prediabetes
  • Gestational diabetes
  • PCOS

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can develop slowly and someone may live with it for years without knowing. These are some common symptoms: 

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet

Complications of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can cause a variety of health complications both due to the disease itself and comorbidities associated with the risk factors. 

  • Heart disease
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Kidney disease
  • Eye diseases (cataracts, glaucoma)
  • Slow healing cuts
  • Hearing impairment
  • Sleep apnea
  • Dementia

Insulin resistance is also linked to metabolic syndrome, which is a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes

Prevention is key for type 2 diabetes, even if you have a family history of it. If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes, aggressive lifestyle changes can prevent type 2 diabetes from developing. 

  • Eat healthy foods
  • Get more active
  • Avoid long periods of inactivity
  • Lose weight

If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you’ll also want to monitor your blood sugar and possibly take medication. In general, living a more healthy, active lifestyle can greatly improve the odds of not developing type 2 diabetes or better managing symptoms if you’ve already been diagnosed. 

While certain risk factors like family history may be out of a person’s control, living an overall healthy lifestyle is key to preventing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Dr. Lee and Dr. Granados are passionate about helping to treat and reverse symptoms for patients to live a long and fruitful life. Contact our integrative health clinic in Miami to schedule your consultation.