Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is producing insulin, but not enough to process glucose efficiently, causing blood glucose levels to rise. In most cases, the cause of this is unclear, but a few cases can be attributed to genetic factors. In fact, Type 2 diabetes tends to run in families, and people who have family members with the condition are more likely to develop the condition themselves. In South Africa, diabetes also occurs at a higher rate in people of Indian origin than in other population groups.
Like Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition, and needs to be managed. Depending on its severity, this can be done with changes to diet and lifestyle alone, but people living with the condition may also need to take medication or use insulin. Losing weight and undertaking regular exercise is also an important part of managing the condition.People who have diabetes can lead long, healthy and active lives, but it is important for the condition to be diagnosed and managed with the help of a healthcare professional. If this is not done, they could develop eye problems, kidney problems and progressive heart failure, as well as nerve damage in the hands and feet.
Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Weight loss
People with two or more of these symptoms should visit their healthcare professional for a diabetes assessment.