Type 2 Diabetes Overview
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
Although it is more common than type 1 diabetes, the causes of type 2 diabetes are less well understood. It is likely caused by many things.
Type 2 diabetes can run in families, but the how it's inherited is not known.
For more detail, see Causes of Type 2 Diabetes.
What Are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?
Very often, people with type 2 diabetes will have no symptoms. When symptoms of type 2 diabetes happen, they vary from person to person and include:
- Increased thirst
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and sometimes vomiting
- Increased urination
- Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling of the hands or feet
- Frequent infections of the skin, urinary tract, or vagina
- Sores that are slow to heal
Rarely, a person may be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after falling into a diabetic coma.
For more detail, see Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms.
How Is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?
To diagnose type 2 diabetes, your doctor will first check for abnormalities in your blood (high blood glucose level) during a random fasting blood test or through a screening test known as the 2-hour glucose tolerance test. Or you may get a blood test called a hemoglobin A1c that shows your average blood sugar for the past 2 to 3 months. Also, he or she may look for glucose or ketones in your urine.
Because adults can be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, your doctor may suggest a zinc transporter 8 autoantibody (ZnT8Ab) test. This blood test -- along with other information and test results -- can help determine if a person has type 1 diabetes instead of another type. The goal of having the ZnT8Ab test is a prompt and accurate diagnosis and that can lead to timely treatment.
For more detail, see Diagnosis of Diabetes.
Complications Associated With Type 2 Diabetes
If your type 2 diabetes isn't well controlled, there are a number of serious or life-threatening problems you may have, including:
- Retinopathy. People with type 2 diabetes may already have eye problems related to diabetes. Over time, more and more people who initially do not have eye problems related to the disease will develop some form of eye problem. It is important to control not only blood sugar but also blood pressure and cholesterol to prevent eye disease from getting worse. Fortunately, the eye problems aren't bad in most people.
- Kidney damage. The risk of kidney disease gets worse over time, meaning the longer you have diabetes, the greater your risk. If not caught early, kidney damage can lead to kidney failure.
- Poor blood circulation and nerve damage. Damage to the blood vessels can lead to a higher risk of stroke and heart attack as well as peripheral artery disease. Damage to nerves and hardening of the arteries leads to worse sensation and poor blood circulation in the feet. This can lead to more infections and a higher risk of skin ulcers, which significantly raise the risk of amputation. Damage to nerves may also lead to digestive problems, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.