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Chronic disease spotlight: type 2 diabetes

Are you one of the 25.8 million Americans living with diabetes? According to the Centers for Disease Control, type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90–95% of all diagnosed cases. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. With these insights, learn about type 2 diabetes and how to prevent or manage it.

Are you at risk?

The American Diabetes Association has developed a simple online quiz. It may help you identify your risk for pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes happens when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin produced. Insulin lets blood sugar — also called glucose — enter the body’s cells to be used for energy. When insulin isn’t able to do its job, the cells can’t get the sugar they need and too much sugar builds up in the blood. This can lead to diabetes complications — heart disease, high blood pressure, glaucoma, etc.

What causes it?

You can develop type 2 diabetes if:

  • Your body doesn’t respond as it should to insulin. This makes it hard for your cells to get sugar from the blood for energy. This is called “insulin resistance.”
  • Your pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin.

Your weight, how active you are and your family history all affect the way your body responds to insulin.

What are the symptoms?

Type 2 diabetes usually begins gradually and progresses slowly. Some people don’t have symptoms, but others may. Symptoms include:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Being more fatigued than usual
  • Blurred vision
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Severe gum problems

What are the suggested ways to prevent, delay or manage type 2 diabetes?

Good nutrition and regular exercise can help prevent or manage the complications of diabetes (such as heart disease and stroke), and help you live a longer, healthier life. Even moderate weight loss can help reduce diabetes risk. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people who are at high risk for type 2 diabetes should eat high-fiber and whole-grain foods.

GuideStone's wellness challenge was designed to help you live a healthier lifestyle. Accept the challenge that may help you prevent type 2 diabetes.

Looking for more information about type 2 diabetes? Check out Highmark and Cigna's health and wellness resources.

Highmark Wellness

Log in and select the Health Topics tab. On the left side, select Health Library, then "Diseases and Conditions."

Cigna Wellness

Log in and select the My Health tab.