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What is type 2 diabetes?

Find out more about the definition of type 2 diabetes, how it's caused and how to manage from someone living with the chronic illness.

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In 2020, I found out I was misdiagnosed with type 2 diabetes and I live with a slow-progressing form of diabetes called LADA. I wanted to keep the original integrity, and feelings of this post, while also noting that my diagnosis changed.

What is type 2 diabetes?

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016. I didn’t know what to do, who to turn to, or what questions to ask. After my visit, I actually wasn’t confident enough to ask questions. Even the basic ones. Part of it was the embarrassment and feeling dumb for not knowing what I had, but the other part of it was having misconceptions about type 2 diabetes myself. 

Those assumptions led me to think that I knew more about something I actually didn’t. So I wanted to share, and hopefully educate others about what type 2 diabetes is, and what it means. 

Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional, and what’s said here is for informational purposes only. Talk to a licensed medical professional about any symptoms you may have. 

What is type 2 diabetes and how is it caused?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body is insulin resistant – meaning your body produces insulin at a normal rate, but it doesn’t use that insulin efficiently in your body.

This usually begins when your muscles, liver, and fat cells do not use insulin well. As a result, your body needs more insulin to help glucose enter cells. 

Type 2 is usually deemed a “lifestyle disease,” but that diminishes the hard work, and effort it takes for someone with type 2 diabetes to manage the condition. 

Type 2 diabetes usually causes high blood sugar, which can lead to complications like obesity, loss of eyesight, amputation of the lower extremities, strokes, and more. 

Contrary to popular belief, diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar.

That is simply not true. Though carbohydrates (and sugar) in excess will spike your blood sugar to above-average levels and increase diabetes complications, it is not the cause of any form of diabetes. 

What does type 2 diabetes feel like?

For me, type 2 felt like fatigue, sweaty, constant thirst, constantly having to use the restroom, headaches, and blurry vision. Those were all of the things that I went to the doctor for. It may seem like you’re just tired, or over-doing it, but check with your doctor to be sure your blood sugars aren’t elevated over long periods of time. If things don’t feel right, it’s time to visit the doctor.  

How is type two diabetes controlled?

Type 2 Diabetes is controlled with diet, exercise and sometimes medication. Ideally you want to work with your doctor to find the best course of treatment for you, and stay consistent. Visit the doctor for regular checkups, and don’t forget how important it is to see specialists. 

How can type 2 be diabetes prevented?

Type 2 can be prevented by staying at a healthy weight and watching your carbohydrate intake. However, it’s important to note that some people are genetically pre-disposed to the illness because of family history, and genetic makeup. A healthy weight and watching your diet can be helpful in preventing a diabetes diagnosis, but they are not always the end-all, be-all. 

How type 2 diabetes affects your lifestyle

Having diabetes just means you have to think about things a little differently. You may have to count your carbohydrates, spend extra time in the gym and juggle a medication routine alongside all of the other parts of your life. You put in a little extra effort every day to keep your body healthy. Diabetes is a part of you, but it is not what defines you. You can still live a perfectly normal life with a balanced routine while juggling your type 2 diabetes.

Can type 2 diabetes be cured completely?

As of now, there are no cures for any type of diabetes. You can of course manage the illness, and see a positive impact on your A1C tests. But you will always need to take proper care to manage the illness. 

I hope this answers your questions about type 2 diabetes from a person who is living with it.

What other questions would you like answered?

About Mila

Hi! I'm Mila.

I’m earning my Master’s degree in Applied nutrition.

I’m a journalist and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach living with  LADA (Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, a slow-progressing form of autoimmune Type 1 diabetes) I love food, travel, and my kitchen, and teaching you about diabetes self-management.

I’m here to help you live your best life possible diabetes by showing you how to create simple, blood-sugar friendly and delicious meals and tips on diabetes self-care.

Be sure to download my FREE Diabetes Community App Glucose Guide, or reach out for FREE 1:1 diabetes health and habit coaching.

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5 Responses

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience as a diabetic! My wife was just recently diagnosed and I have no idea what to think. I’m still worried for her and I hope to help her through this lifestyle disease as you said. I’m trying my best to learn as much as I can about diabetes.

  2. Wow! Thanks a million for helping me find a calm in this storm. I honestly have not made a connection like this until now. I’ve been looking and looking! Beautiful website great reading and calming. I’ll be back again and again.

    1. Thank you so much, Erin! I know when I was first diagnosed I was really scared, but I also felt like I didn’t know the basics. I always aim to put information in the easiest context. It helps me understand more too :). Thank you for commenting!

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