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Type 2 diabetes

  • Alternative Names

    Noninsulin-dependent diabetes; Diabetes - type 2; Adult-onset diabetes


    Often, people with type 2 diabetes have no symptoms at first. They may not have symptoms for many years.

    The early symptoms of diabetes may include:

    • Bladder, kidney, skin, or other infections that are more frequent or heal slowly
    • Fatigue
    • Hunger
    • Increased thirst
    • Increased urination

    The first symptom may also be:

    • Blurred vision
    • Erectile dysfunction
    • Pain or numbness in the feet or hands

    Signs and tests

    Your health care provider may suspect that you have diabetes if your blood sugar level is higher than 200 mg/dL. To confirm the diagnosis, one or more of the following tests must be done.

    Diabetes blood tests:

    • Fasting blood glucose level -- diabetes is diagnosed if it is higher than 126 mg/dL two times
    • Hemoglobin A1c test --
      • Normal: Less than 5.7%
      • Pre-diabetes: 5.7% - 6.4%
      • Diabetes: 6.5% or higher
    • Oral glucose tolerance test -- diabetes is diagnosed if glucose level is higher than 200 mg/dL after 2 hours

    Diabetes screening is recommended for:

    • Overweight children who have other risk factors for diabetes, starting at age 10 and repeated every 2 years
    • Overweight adults (BMI greater than 25) who have other risk factors
    • Adults over age 45 every 3 years

    You should see your health care provider every 3 months. At these visits, you can expect your health care provider to:

    • Check your blood pressure
    • Check the skin and bones on your feet and legs
    • Check to see if your feet are becoming numb
    • Examine the back part of the eye with a special lighted instrument called an ophthalmoscope

    The following tests will help you and your doctor monitor your diabetes and prevent problems:

    • Have your blood pressure checked at least every year (blood pressure goals should be 130/80 mm/Hg or lower).
    • Have your hemoglobin A1c test (HbA1c) every 6 months if your diabetes is well controlled; otherwise every 3 months.
    • Have your cholesterol and triglyceride levels checked yearly (aim for LDL levels below 70-100 mg/dL).
    • Get yearly tests to make sure your kidneys are working well (microalbuminuria and serum creatinine).
    • Visit your eye doctor at least once a year, or more often if you have signs of diabetic eye disease.
    • See the dentist every 6 months for a thorough dental cleaning and exam. Make sure your dentist and hygienist know that you have diabetes.