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What typically happens when someone is diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes?

Most people who have type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM2) are able to live long and active lives. However, you will always need medical care. Lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and exercising as recommended by your doctor, will help you avoid serious complications. Most people with DM2 also need medication.

DM2 is a lifelong condition. It can start at any age, but it is usually diagnosed in middle-aged people.

Many people who have DM2 start out with a condition called prediabetes. If you have prediabetes, lifestyle changes can help you reduce your risk of getting DM2. There is no cure for DM2. Once you have DM2, you will have it for the rest of your life.

You will need treatment to keep DM2 under control and help avoid serious health problems (complications). You will need to eat a balanced diet and stay at a healthy weight. If you are overweight, you will need to lose weight.

It is also important that you exercise. Talk to your doctor about exercises that are right for you.

You will need to keep track of your blood sugar (glucose). You will need to learn to watch for signs of high blood sugar and low blood sugar. You will need to educate your friends and family about how to care for you when you need help.

Most people who have DM2 need to take medication to manage their blood sugar. Most people start with an oral medication called metformin. However, you will probably need other medications at some point. The specific medications you need will depend on your condition and how quickly it progresses. Lifestyle changes can slow this process. They can also reduce your need for medications.

Most people eventually need to take insulin (substance that controls sugar). If blood sugar can be controlled with lifestyle changes and other medications such as metformin, insulin treatment might not be needed. DM2 progresses at different speeds in everyone, depending on many factors, including lifestyle changes, treatment, and other factors that are not fully understood. The time it takes before insulin is needed is different in each patient for these reasons.

Having DM2 means that you have a higher risk for other conditions. You need to do everything you can to stay healthy. That means taking care of yourself.

What is likely to happen to someone with DM2?

Lifestyle changes and medication play a key role in how DM2 affects your life. If you take steps to manage your DM2, you can live a long healthy life. High blood sugar leads to health problems over time. If you control your blood sugar, these problems are much less likely.

DM2 can lead to many problems throughout your body (complications). Without treatment, the following complications are very likely to occur:

  • Eye damage (retinopathy), including blindness
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy), which can cause your kidneys to stop working and require painful and difficult treatments, such as dialysis or transplantation
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy) that can cause numbness, tingling, and pain in your feet, legs, and arms
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Problems with your blood vessels that can lead to serious conditions, such as peripheral arterial disease (PAD), tissue death (gangrene), and loss of your feet (amputation)
  • Damage to your immune system that can increase your risk of infections, including gum disease
  • Death from medical emergencies related to DM1, such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), or high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)

Fortunately, there are things you can do to keep these things from happening. Through lifestyle changes and medications, you can keep your blood sugar (glucose) under control.

These problems can still happen, even with treatment. However, taking care of yourself will help.

What is likely to happen to someone with prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a medical condition in which your blood sugar (glucose) is higher than normal, but lower than in DM2. It usually has no symptoms. Having prediabetes increases your risk of getting DM2. Making lifestyle changes will reduce your chance of developing DM2.

Prediabetes is less severe than DM2. It has no symptoms. With prediabetes, your blood sugar will be abnormally high, but not as high as with DM2. Prediabetes is a warning sign that you are at risk for developing DM2.

If you have prediabetes, one of the following things will happen:

  • You will get DM2.
  • You will not get DM2, but you will have prediabetes for the rest of your life.
  • Your blood sugar (glucose) will return to normal. If this happens, you no longer have prediabetes.

With lifestyle changes and treatment, you greatly reduce your chance of getting DM2. These changes might be enough to return your blood sugar (glucose) to normal. Without these changes, your blood sugar (glucose) is much more likely to get worse, and you will probably get DM2.

What are the symptoms of hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (HHS)?

Hyperglycemic hyperosmolar state (HHS) is a medical emergency. It can occur if your blood sugar (glucose) is extremely high (hyperglycemia). This can lead to a coma or death. It is important to know the symptoms, so you can recognize it as soon as possible.

HHS is an extreme form of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). It usually occurs when your body lacks the water it needs (dehydration).

Common symptoms of HHS include the following:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Heavy breathing
  • Loss of consciousness, coma

If you have HHS, you need emergency medical care. This will include giving you insulin and fluids. There are things you can do to reduce your risk of HHS.

What are the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)?

Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a medical emergency. It occurs when you do not have enough insulin (substance for controlling sugar). DKA can happen very quickly. It can lead to death within 24 hours. It is important to know the symptoms, so you can recognize it as soon as possible.

DKA is related to high blood sugar (hyperglycemia). It is more common in type 1 diabetes mellitus (DM1) than DM2. However, it can still occur in DM2.

Common symptoms of DKA include the following:

  • Heavy breathing and shortness of breath
  • Breath that smells fruity
  • Excessive urination
  • Extreme thirst
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Belly pain
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness, coma

If you have DKA, you need emergency medical care. This will include giving you insulin and fluids. There are things you can do to reduce your risk of DKA.