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Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus is common. Diabetes affects about 1.4 million people in the UK – that’s about 3 in every 100 people. There are approximately 12,000 people with diabetes in Wolverhampton. Of these people around 85% have type 2 diabetes.

Who does it affect?

This type of diabetes occurs later in life usually developing over the age of 30 and it gets commoner as we get older but it does appear in younger people. People with diabetes in the family, those who are overweight or had diabetes in pregnancy have an increased chance of type 2 diabetes. It is more common in those of Asian or African-Caribbean origin.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the body’s tissues, such as muscle and fat, do not respond fully to the actions of insulin and are resistant to its effects. This insulin resistance gets worse with age, inactivity and especially the more overweight we are. This loss of balance between the amounts of insulin we make and the amount we need leads to the amount of glucose in the blood rising because it can’t be used or metabolized properly without insulin.

Over time the pancreas becomes less able to produce insulin and the tissues become more resistant to its actions.

One result of that is that treatment needs to change to keep up with this and eventually many people with Type 2 diabetes need insulin treatment by injection.

What are the symptoms?

It can take several years for the blood sugar to reach a level where you experience symptoms. Sometimes people are not aware of their symptoms but other times people ignore their symptoms. That’s why Type 2 diabetes can be go a long time without being found out.

The most common symptoms include excessive thirst and a dry mouth, increased production of urine, tiredness, infection/itching of the genitals, blurred vision and weight loss.

Treating Type 2 diabetes

Because Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, the treatment needed to control it properly has to be adjusted over time. Treatment varies depending on the stage of your diabetes. Initially it may be possible to maintain control of blood glucose levels with healthy eating and exercise on its own. However, most people need tablet treatment right from the start. The treatment for your diabetes will change to include a combination of healthy eating, exercise, weight control, various types of tablets or insulin injection as required to keep you well controlled. This is quite normal. After about 7 years, half of all people with Type 2 diabetes will be on insulin.

Seeking advice and what care to expect

If you think you might have diabetes, don’t just sit and worry about it. Go and see you doctor. A simple blood test will give the answer. If you find you have diabetes, you can expect to get lots of advice and help, as well as prompt treatment. You should soon be feeling back to good health.

If you have Type 2 diabetes you will most likely be under GP team for your diabetes care although you will see the specialist hospital team as time goes on and your treatment changes. Always be clear who is responsible for providing your care.

You should come to feel that you have a full understanding of your diabetes and its treatment and that you feel in charge and in control of your own condition.

Your diabetes care providers should offer you full support, training and education to be able to achieve this.

Your correct treatment plan should be discussed with you by your health care team at most visits and any concerns or worries answered for you.

If your control is poor always ask if your treatment needs to be altered in any way.