How To: Recognize Type 2 Diabetes: Know the Symptoms, Lower the Risk of Adult-Onset Diabetes


According to the CDC, the rate of diabetes has doubled in the US in the past 10 years. Over 23 million Americans have diabetes, with 90 percent of those cases Type 2.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states about 1.6 million new cases were diagnosed in people 20 years or older in 2016. Below, the definition, risk factors, and tips for preventing Type 2 Diabetes (aka, Type II, Adult-Onset Diabetes, Non-insulin Dependent Diabetes).

Type 2 Diabetes Defined:

Type 2 Diabetes is caused the body’s inability to produce enough insulin or cells in the body ignore the insulin. When food is ingested, the sugars and starches are broken down into glucose.

Insulin is a hormone responsible for the absorption of glucose into the cells of the body. If not enough insulin is available, high amounts of glucose remain in the blood. This results in the cells becoming starved for energy and damage to bodily organs can occur.

Risk Factors:

  • Weight: Being over-weight is a primary risk factor due to cells becoming more resistant to insulin with increased fatty tissue.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle: Exercise and activity help keep weight down as well as increase use of glucose for energy.
  • Family History: If your parent or sibling has/had Type 2 Diabetes your risk increases.
  • Race: African-Americans, Hispanics, American Indians and Asian Americans are more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Age: People over 45 are at higher risk, most likely due to increased weight and decreased muscle mass that comes with aging.

Of special concern:

  • Gestational Diabetes: Women who developed gestational diabetes when pregnant have a higher risk of developing Type 2 later in life.
  • Prediabetes: This is a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not classified as Type 2. If prediabetes is not controlled with diet and exercise, it can progress to Type 2.


  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Extreme hunger
  • Weight loss without dieting
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
  • Numbness or tingling of extremities

Lowering Risks:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Reduce fat intake
  • Watch caloric intake
  • Keep weight in check
  • Maintain blood pressure below 140/90mm Hg
  • Maintain cholesterol levels at or below 200 mg/dl

A recent study suggests an association between black tea or coffee and a reduced risk of Type 2 Diabetes. According to the study findings, those who drank four or more cups of coffee every day were 30 percent less likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes than those who did not drink daily. In addition, subjects who drank a cup or more of black tea were 14 percent less likely to have diabetes versus those who did not have any [Am J of Clin Nutr, Vol. 88, No. 4, 979-985, October 2008].

If you have any of the above risk factors or symptoms, check with your doctor for assessment for diabetes. Listening to your body and regular check-ups are the keys to taking control.

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