Type 2 Diabetes
About 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and 90% to 95% of them have type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it.
Causes: Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Symptoms & Risk Factors: Type 2 diabetes symptoms(https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/symptoms.html) often develop over several years and can go on for a long time without being noticed (sometimes there aren’t any noticeable symptoms at all). Because symptoms can be hard to spot, it’s important to know the risk factors(https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/risk-factors.html) for type 2 diabetes and to see your doctor to get your blood sugar tested if you have any of them.
Getting Tested: A simple blood test(https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/getting-tested.html)will let you know if you have diabetes. If you’ve gotten your blood sugar tested at a health fair or pharmacy, follow up at a clinic or doctor’s office to make sure the results are accurate.
Why is it important for people with diabetes to be physically active?
Physical activity can help you control your blood glucose, weight, and blood pressure, as well as raise your “good” cholesterol and lower your “bad” cholesterol. It can also help prevent heart and blood flow problems, reducing your risk of heart disease and nerve damage, which are often problems for people with diabetes.
Experts recommend moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on 5 or more days of the week. Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activity are walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming, or bicycling.
If you are not accustomed to physical activity, you may want to start with a little exercise, and work your way up. As you become stronger, you can add a few extra minutes to your physical activity. Do some physical activity every day. It’s better to walk 10 or 20 minutes each day than one hour once a week.
Talk to your health care provider about a safe exercise plan. Take this tip sheet[PDF-239KB](https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/managing/Tip_for_Being_Active.pdf) with you to find out more. He or she may check your heart and your feet to be sure you have no special problems. If you have high blood pressure, eye, or foot problems, you may need to avoid some kinds of exercise.