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What Are the Characteristics of Type 2 Diabetes?

author image Melissa Angela
Melissa Angela has a master's degree in public health with a specialization in community health education. She is also a registered nurse, having worked in the health field for more than 15 years. Angela has a special interest in wellness and promotion of women's health and serves as a freelance health writer for various websites.
What Are the Characteristics of Type 2 Diabetes?
If you have diabetes, take control, make better choices and don't let it control you. Photo Credit: Alliance/iStock/Getty Images

Diabetes occurs because the body is not producing enough insulin or is not able to use insulin effectively enough. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, and can lead to serious complications that can cause disability, a decrease in quality of life and death. Since diabetes is common, it is important to be aware of its characteristics and how to prevent it.

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Risk Factors

The American Diabetes Association outlines the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes as being over age 45, being overweight, and having a family history of diabetes. Persons who do not exercise regularly are more at risk. Those who are African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander or American Indian are also more at risk for developing diabetes.


Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by changes in habits, according to the American Diabetes Association. Since being overweight is a risk factor, eating a healthy diet and exercising can fight obesity. Having a diet higher in complex carbohydrates and lower in saturated fats and sugar can help. Paying attention to portion sizes and planning meals can help. Exercising regularly, at least 30 minutes most days, can help you control your weight and promote well-being. Stay active and eat right to decrease your risk of developing diabetes.

Control of Diabetes

Being diagnosed with diabetes can be an opportunity for you to take control of your well-being. Diabetes can be controlled through physical activity, diet, and medication if necessary. It is important to understand the action of your medications, potential side effects and how to deal with low blood sugar when it occurs. Monitoring blood sugar regularly can help you make sure it is under control and identify problems such as overeating that need to change. Your doctor or nutritionist can also identify dietary and exercise guidelines that are right for you.

Complications of Diabetes

Unfortunately, diabetes can lead to long-term complications. These include eye, kidney, nerve, gastrointestinal, skin and circulatory problems. Prevention of complications includes keeping blood sugar under control. It is important to have regular checkups with your doctor and eye doctor.


The American Diabetes Association reports 23.6 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. Since so many people have diabetes, it is a misconception that it is not a serious disease. Diabetes is a very serious illness. According to the American Diabetes Association, it is the seventh leading cause of death and causes more deaths than breast cancer and AIDS combined, and two out of three diabetics die from a heart-related illness. Many complications of diabetes can result in disability or death.

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