What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is the most common type of Diabetes. About 95% of people with Diabetes have Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes affects people at any age, even during childhood. However, it develops often in middle age and older adults.
After a meal, carbohydrates (e.g. bread, rice, yam, milk, and fruit) are broken down into glucose (sugar) in our blood. With the help of the hormone called insulin, cells absorb glucose from our blood to use it for energy. Insulin is made in the pancreas.
When our body cells do not use insulin properly (what is called ‘insulin resistance) it leads to Type 2 Diabetes. To meet the demand for more insulin, our pancreas starts producing more insulin. In time, the pancreas loses its ability to produce enough insulin and glucose (sugar) builds up in the blood.
People of African descent are up to three times more likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes compared to the white population. Research has also shown that people of African descent are developing Type 2 Diabetes at an earlier age compared to other communities. It is therefore very important that we seek the right information and also actively participate in plans and programs to get screened or tested, learn about the disease and also prevent it by leading a healthy lifestyle.
Having pre-diabetes means that your blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as Diabetes (blood sugar level between 6.7 and 6.4).
What is Pre-Diabetes?
Having pre-diabetes also means that you are at greater risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. You can reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes and even maintain a normal blood glucose level with the appropriate healthy life styles such as eating a healthy diet and being physically active.
Who is at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes?
You are at risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes if one or more of the following factors apply to you:
- Are you of African or South Asian descent?
- Are you aged 40 and above?
- Are you overweight or obese?
- Do you have families with Type 2 Diabetes?
- Do you have high blood pressure? (140/90 or higher)?
- Do you have higher than normal cholesterol level?
- Have you had Gestational Diabetes during past pregnancies?
- On previous testing, did you have a fasting blood sugar level between 5.7-6.4 (pre-diabetes), impaired fasting glucose or impaired glucose tolerance?
- Are you fairly inactive?
- Do you have a history of cardiovascular disease?
Screening & Testing
It is important that you take preventative measures regarding your overall health. Preventative measures include having periodic health examination (once a year), screening and testing for chronic conditions such Diabetes, Cancer and other chronic conditions on a regular basis, and getting information about the types of health risks that affect you.
You can assess your personal risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes by completing the CAN RISK Assessment Form