In June of 2002, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus. It is surprising what you can do when you have to. I have found out that I *can* lose weight and I *can* care about what happens to me.



What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is unable to effectively use insulin, or when the body cannot produce enough insulin. When this happens, blood sugar (glucose) stays in the blood instead of going to the cells.
When glucose builds up in the blood, cells might not have enough energy, and the excess sugar can cause problems with the heart and other organs.
The American Diabetes Association says that more than 90% of all diabetics have type 2 diabetes.



What are some signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Before I learned that I was diabetic, I frequently complained of tiredness. Even now, with treatment, I have to take naps during the weekend because I feel fatigued. This results from my cells' not getting the energy they need from glucose.
My doctor urged me to take especially good care of my feet because of a disorder called peripheral vascular disease (PVD). With PVD, less blood and oxygen flow to the legs and feet, causing pain and sometimes a "wobbly" feeling. The ADA states that diabetic women are 7.6 times more likely to suffer from this disorder than non-diabetic women are.
Many type 2 diabetics find themselves needing to drink fluids (and relieve themselves) more frequently than normal. This happens because the excess blood sugar affects our kidneys.



How is diabetes treated?

Diabetes is not curable, but it is treatable. A good start is to eat more carefully. Eating more fruits and vegetables, and eating fewer starchy or fatty foods, is very important. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Become more active. Taking a short walk is ideal for raising your heart rate and getting excess weight off. I've lost 20 pounds by just walking and watching my food intake. You can do it too!
Work closely with your health care team to develop a regimen of blood testing, medication, and food intake. You may be referred to a dietician or nutritionist to start out, and you'll probably start out with a medication rather than insulin injections.



   ***Nothing on this page is a substitute for medical advice. For more information about diabetes, visit the ADA or WebMD, and talk to your doctor.***