Wednesday , July 28 2021

Livingston County News | Got a Minute ?: Understanding Type 2 diabetes


November is National Diabetes month and the "Got a Minute?" Column continues its look at the disorder.

Type 2 diabetes Type 2 diabetes affects about 90 percent to 95 percent of the 30.3 million Americans who have diabetes.

Previously, Type 2 diabetes was called Adult Onset Diabetes but in the future that happens any age – 8 percent to 45 percent of all type 2 diagnosed diabetics are children and adolescents. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the greatest percentage of type 2 diabetes is in the older than 65 years old age group.

Type 2 diabetes has an insidious start. The usual signs of excessive thirst, excessive urination and hunger may not be present. In their place may be a general fatigue, a dry mouth or slow wound healing.

The condition can go undiagnosed for a significant period of time, which makes regular check-ups, and blood work critical even if you feel fine.

Type 2 diabetes is chronic and progressive The beta cells in the pancreas are secreting less and less insulin. Partner this with increased resistance on the body of cells, usually the muscle cells, to use the insulin the body is produced, and the result is a high blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes can be diagnosed with two fasting blood sugars on different days, equal to or above 126mg or a hemoglobin A1c of 6.5 or greater. If the person has some of the classic symptoms, a casual blood sugar of more than 200mg can confirm the diagnosis.

The main contributing factors for type 2 diabetes in adults, adolescents, and children are obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. Other risk factors include a family history of diabetes and being African American, Hispanic, or Native American

Education, weight loss, and increased activity are the places of treatment.

The goal with any diabetes is to reduce blood sugar (glucose) through self-management. Working with your health care provider and learning about the condition with a certified diabetes teacher will start one down this important path.

For some patients, weight loss and increased activity are not enough to reduce the blood sugar so oral medications, non-insulin injection medications, or insulin may be necessary.

Good self-management of diabetes also includes daily self-glucose monitoring. With the availability of a wide selection of glucometers, it is easy to find Co-pays for insurance coverage It is important to decide on insurance when choosing a glucometer.

Self-management also includes taking drugs as prescribed, keeping appointments with your health care provider, and getting blood work as ordered. One blood test, the HbA1c is usually ordered every 3 or 6 months. This test lets you and your health care provider know your average blood sugar last three months as it is the weighted average glucose glycated or "stuck" red blood cells. The American Diabetes Association recommends a HbA1c of less than 7 percent as a first step.

Self-management includes regular foot checks, regular dental checks, and eye exams that include the visualization of the retina. It also includes regular blood work to monitor cholesterol levels and kidney function.

If you have diabetes, get educated and get involved with the self-management of your diabetes. Make sure you have the most current information and tools to keep your blood sugar in a normal range. To find the certified diabetes educator and recognized diabetes program closest to you, go to the American Association of Diabetes Teachers at

Previous columns can be found online at

Local resource

Recognized by the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the diabetes self-management program at UR Medicine Noyes Health is staffed with an RN certified diabetes educationist and an RN diabetes teacher. The program is available close to home in Geneseo, Dansville, Hornell, and three area health care provider offices. For more information, call (585) 335-4355

Join me during the month of November as I explain the types of diabetes, new advances in treatment options, and management tools.

Nancy M. Johnsen, RN, is a certified diabetes educator and coordinator of the Diabetes Education Program and Wellness at UR Medicine Noyes Health in Dansville. Johnsen is guest writing the "Got a Minute?" Column for Lorraine Wichtowski, a community health educator at Noyes Health, during November. For more information about diabetes, she can be reached at (585) 335-4355

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