Type-2 Diabetes Basics


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition in which the levels of sugar, or glucose, build up in your bloodstream. Typically, the hormone insulin helps move glucose from your blood to your cells, where it’s used for  energy. But with type 2 diabetes, your body’s cells aren’t able to respond to insulin as well as they should. In later stages of the condition, your body may also not produce enough insulin. Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can lead to chronically high blood glucose levels, which can cause several symptoms and potentially lead to serious complications.


Type 2 Diabetes is manageable, and in some cases reversible


There are an assortment of type 2 diabetes treatment methods


In type 2 diabetes, your body isn’t able to effectively use insulin to bring glucose into your cells. This causes your body to rely on alternative energy sources in your tissues, muscles, and organs. This is a chain reaction that can cause a variety of symptoms. Type 2 diabetes can develop slowly. The symptoms may be mild and easy to dismiss at first. The early symptoms may include

  •  Constant hunger
  •  Lack of energy
  •  Fatigue
  •  Excessive thirst
  •  Frequent urination
  •  Blurry vision
  •  Pain, tingling, or numbness in your hands or feet

As the disease progresses, the symptoms become more severe and can cause some potentially dangerous complications. If your blood glucose levels have been high for a long time, the complications can include:

  • Eye problems (Diabetic retinopathy)
  • Feelings of numbness in your extremities, or neuropathy
  • Kidney disease (Nephropathy)
  • Gum disease
  • Heart attack or stroke

Insulin is a naturally occurring hormone. Your pancreas produces it and releases it when you eat. Insulin helps transport glucose from your bloodstream to cells throughout your body, where it’s used for energy.

If you have type 2 diabetes, your body becomes resistant to insulin. Your body is no longer using the hormone efficiently. This forces your pancreas to work harder to make more insulin. Over time, this can damage cells in your pancreas. Eventually, your pancreas may not be able to produce any insulin. If you don’t produce enough insulin or if your body doesn’t use it efficiently, glucose builds up in your bloodstream. This leaves your body’s cells starved for energy.

Doctors don’t know exactly what triggers this series of events. It may have to do with cell dysfunction in the pancreas or with cell signaling and regulation. While lifestyle choices are typically what trigger type 2 diabetes, you may be more likely to be diagnosed with it if:

  • There’s a genetic predisposition to developing obesity in your family, which can increase the
    risk of insulin resistance and diabetes
  • You are at least 45 years old
  • You are Black, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or of Alaska Native descent

While the definitive trigger of type 2 diabetes is your body’s resistance to insulin, there’s usually a combination of factors that increase your risk of that resistance occurring.


Type 2 diabetes can be managed, and in some cases, reversed. Most treatment plans will include wholesale lifestyle changes and checking your blood glucose levels, The goal is to stay within a specific range. There are reputable dietary supplements available over-the-counter designed to assist with glucose regulation and maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels.

It is also advised to make dietary changes in addition to treatment for maximum effectiveness. These include eating foods rich in fiber and healthy carbohydrates — eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help keep your blood glucose levels steady

  • Eating at regular intervals
  • Learning to listen to your body and learn to stop eating when you’re full
  • Manage your weight and keep your heart healthy, which typically means keeping refined carbohydrates, sweets, and animal fats to a minimum
  • Get about half an hour of physical activity daily to help keep your heart healthy— exercise can help to control blood glucose, too

Additionally, working with a dietician can help you learn which foods can help you manage your blood sugar — and which ones might cause it to become unbalanced. Research suggests that people with type 2 diabetes can slim down and lower their blood sugar levels with the Keto diet. In one study, people with type 2 lost weight, needed less medication, and lowered their A1c when they followed the Keto diet for a year.

A new study from Italy shows that people with type 2 diabetes who ate a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and whole grains with at least 30% of daily calories from fat (mostly olive oil) were better able to manage their disease without diabetes medications than those who ate a low-fat diet with no more than 30% of calories from fat (with less than 10% coming from saturated fat choices)


In some cases, lifestyle changes are enough to keep type 2 diabetes under control. If not, there are several medications that may help. Some of these medications include:

(Each type of medication listed below can cause side effects. It may take some time for you and your doctor to find the best medication or combination of medications to treat your diabetes.)

  • Metformin. This can lower your blood glucose levels and improve how your body responds
    to insulin. It’s the first-line treatment for most people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Sulfonylureas. These are oral medications that help your body make more insulin.
  • Meglitinides. These are fast-acting, short-duration medications that stimulate your pancreas
    to release more insulin.
  • Thiazolidinediones. These make your body more sensitive to insulin.
  • Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. These are milder medications that help reduce
    blood glucose levels.
  • Glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists. These slow digestion and improve blood glucose levels.
  • Sodium-glucose Cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) Inhibitors. These help your kidneys remove sugar
    in your body through urine.