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Blog Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms and Treatments

writtenByWritten by: Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse
Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa Chatham Registered Nurse

Tessa is a MSN prepared Registered Nurse with 10 years of critical care experience in healthcare. When not practicing clinical nursing, she enjoys academic writing and is passionate about helping those affected by medical aliments live healthy lives.

Read more posts by this author.
reviewBy Reviewed by: Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Reviewer

Dr. Katalin Karolyi

Katalin Karolyi, M.D. earned her medical degree at the University of Debrecen. After completing her residency program in pathology at the Kenezy Hospital, she obtained a postdoctoral position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida.

February 12, 2021 Read Time - 7 minutes

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is an illness that affects the way your cells take up blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes is a common form of diabetes, making up 95% of diabetes diagnoses. 34 million Americans (1 in 10) have type 2 diabetes.

Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood by making cells to take up sugar from the blood. The lack of insulin causes Type 1  diabetes.

When you have Type 2 diabetes, your cells do not respond to the hormone insulin properly.

People who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have many treatment options including medication, diet, exercise, and other lifestyle adjustments.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

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Signs and Symptoms of Diabetes Type 2

Type 2 diabetes can go on without any symptoms for years, sometimes the first symptom is a high blood sugar value in your lab work. People diagnosed with diabetes type 2 have similar signs and symptoms. Symptoms of diabetes type 2 in adults are consistent throughout patients.

One of the most distinguishing symptoms of diabetes type 2 are known as the three P’s

  • Polydipsia (increased thirst)
  • Polyuria (increased urination)
  • Polyphagia (increased appetite despite eating enough)

The three P’s often occur, but not always, together. This is your body’s natural response to try and flush out the extra sugar in your blood; however, this is not effective in lowering your blood sugar. 

When blood glucose levels get too high, your kidneys try to remove excess sugar by filtering it out of the blood. This is what causes the frequent urination. Frequent urination often makes patients feel extra thirsty due to the loss of water, causing people to drink more and feel thirsty.

The body is not absorbing nutrients properly due to the problem with insulin and glucose absorption into the cells. This is why people with diabetes feel hungry all of the time because their body is not utilizing the nutrients appropriately.

If you are exhibiting these three symptoms there is a good chance that your blood glucose levels may be too high.

Other signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands and feet
  • Cuts and bruises take longer to heal
  • Blurry vision
  • Extreme fatigue

Early symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Slow healing sores
  • Vision changes, high blood glucose levels can damage tiny blood vessels in the eyes
  • Patches of darker skin, especially on the back of the neck, armpit, or groin area

Diabetes type 2 can occur at any age, but it usually appears around age 45.

If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause severe organ damage, specifically kidney, heart, and brain damage. It is important to take action at the first signs of diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes Low Blood Sugar Symptoms

Throughout the day and depending on a multitude of factors, your body’s blood glucose level fluctuates. When living with type 2 diabetes, your blood glucose level may be imbalanced at times. An imbalance in blood glucose levels, either too high or too low, can cause symptoms. 

If blood glucose levels get low enough it can be extremely dangerous. It is important to know the symptoms of low blood glucose levels so that you can take action immediately before it becomes fatal.

Signs and symptoms of low blood glucose include:

  • Cool, clammy skin
  • New onset confusion
  • Headache
  • Feeling shaky
  • Feeling nervous or anxious
  • Sweating
  • Nightmares while sleeping
  • Feeling irritable
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Feeling hungry

If you have type 2 diabetes and are experiencing the above symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

What to do Following a Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you are probably thinking to yourself “what should I do now?”

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and according to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with diabetes this year. 

Your first step is to pick your healthcare team. This is usually your primary care physician, nurses, diabetic education specialist, nutritionist, and sometimes a medical specialist, known as an endocrinologist. 

Your next step is to learn how to test your blood sugar with the latest tools, learn about medication management and what to eat going forward. Your diet can greatly affect your blood glucose levels. Many people control their diabetes by the foods they intake. 

Your healthcare team will teach you how and when to take your medications, when to check your blood glucose (sugar) and how to track your results, what food to make and eat, and when and how to exercise. 

Blood glucose meters are devices used to monitor your blood glucose levels. These devices will be given to you by your healthcare team. Your healthcare team will teach you when to check your blood glucose, how to track results, and what to do with the results. 

This may sound overwhelming but it’s important to know that millions of people live happy lives with their type 2 diabetes under control. By committing to your treatment plan you will gain back your health and with time this new lifestyle will get easier.

How Long Can You Live With Type 2 Diabetes?

According to a United Kingdom study, the average life expectancy for people with type 2 diabetes is 73.8 years to 79.5 years in comparison to non-diabetic people with a life expectancy of 79.4 to 83.2 years.

Advancements in type 2 diabetes management have come a long way from past treatment options. Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is not a death sentence by any means, in fact, you can live a long and complete life with type 2 diabetes. All it takes is a healthcare team, dedication, and commitment to a treatment plan.

What is the Most Effective Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes?

Early treatment of type 2 diabetes is the most effective treatment. Early detection and treatment of diabetes can decrease the risk of complications. It is important to effectively treat type 2 diabetes as soon as possible. This may include tablets or insulin injection medications

Taking tablets versus injection depends on your current diabetes control, your target HbA1c level, how much insulin your body still makes, as well as your kidney function.

While some people take both tablets and insulin injections, fast and long-acting injectables are common treatment plans. 

Type 2 Diabetes Medication

A variety of pills are available to treat type 2 diabetes.  As with any prescription medication, diabetic medication has side effects.

Common type 2 diabetes medications are:

  • Diabeta
  • Metformin
  • Invokamet
  • Novolin R
  • Novolin N
  • Humulin R
  • Glynase
  • And many more…

Insulin For Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetics who do not produce enough insulin will need to take insulin as it’s crucial for glucose absorption.

Injectable insulin is available in many forms and is prescribed often. Insulin injectables are available in a syringe form, pen injectable form, jet injector, insulin port, as well as an insulin pump.

  • Book on our free mobile app or website.

    Our doctors operate in all 50 states and same day appointments are available every 15 minutes.

  • See a doctor, get treatment and a prescription at your local pharmacy.

  • Use your health insurance just like you normally would to see your doctor.

PlushCare-App-Steps

Get Diabetes Treatment and Management Online

The board-certified providers at PlushCare are here to help you manage your diabetes. If you think you may have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes we recommend you book a consultation with a PlushCare doctor who can order lab tests and refer to specialists if necessary.

Following your diagnosis, your PlushCare doctor can work with you to manage your treatment plan and medications. From medication recommendations and dosages to diet and exercise plans, our top physicians are highly trained to manage type 2 diabetes.


Read More About Type 2 Diabetes


Sources:

PlushCare is dedicated to providing you with accurate and trustworthy health information.

Mayo Clinic. Type 1 diabetes. Accessed on February 7, 2021 at
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-1-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20353011

U.S. National Library of Medicine. Medline Plus. Urinating more at night. Accessed on February 7, 2021 at
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003141.htm

American Diabetes Association. Statistics About Diabetes. Accessed on February 7, 2021 at
https://www.diabetes.org/resources/statistics/statistics-about-diabetes

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog. The PlushCare blog, or any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. For more information click here.

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