Non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM or type II diabetes)
is the most common form of diabetes. The hallmark of diabetes is too
much glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. Glucose is the body's
primary fuel. It is derived from the conversion of foods we eat -
carbohydrates, proteins and fats - into 'sugars'. Insulin is the
chemical made in the pancreas that moves this sugar out of the
bloodstream and into the cells of the body where it is used as fuel.
In type II diabetes, the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or
your body is unable to properly use the insulin that is made. The
result is too much sugar in the bloodstream (hyperglycemia or high
blood sugar). Type II diabetes is most common in people who are
overweight and over 45, especially if there is a family history of
diabetes. Risk also increases with certain conditions including
stress, pregnancy, and with the use of certain drugs including birth
control pills, thiazide diuretics, prednisone or phenytoin.
Symptoms may include:
• Excess thirst
• Increased hunger but with possible weight loss.
• Frequent need to urinate
• Itching (especially of the feet).
• The body becomes less resistant to infection and takes longer to
heal. In women, recurrent yeast infections of the vagina may be the
• Symptoms often come on quite gradually
WHAT YOUR DOCTOR CAN DO:
• Diagnose diabetes by asking about your symptoms, doing a physical
exam and laboratory blood tests to check the levels of sugar.
• Prescribe oral medicines to reduce blood sugar.
• Work closely with you to establish a sound diet, weight reduction
program, and appropriate schedule for medications. You may be
referred to a dietitian or nutritionist to help you understand a
proper diet plan.
• Evaluate vision and recommend a dental exam yearly.
• A urine test to check for protein should be done yearly to detect
early signs of kidney disease, called nephropathy. Your doctor will
also assess you on an ongoing basis for other possible complications
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
• Control your blood sugars and keep them in the normal range. Learn
as much as you can about diabetes, controlling your blood sugar, and
recognizing the early symptoms of complications.
• Learn to check your blood sugars with a glucometer, a small
machine you can use at home.
• Exercise and diet help the body's cells become sensitive to
• Work with your doctor and nutritionist to develop a meal plan,
exercise schedule, and medication schedule that is right for you.
Try to be as realistic and honest about what you can do as possible.
Lifestyle changes can be difficult. Start with small steps to gain
some success at first.
• Your diet and meal plan should include a healthy balance of
carbohydrates, protein and fat; adequate fiber, and a limited amount
of refined or simple sugars.
• Regular exercise 3-4 times a week will help you lose weight and
control your blood sugar.
• See your eye doctor at least yearly for eye exams.
• See your dentist every year for teeth cleaning and treatment.
• Inspect your feet daily. See your doctor for prompt treatment of
any infection or injury, especially on the feet or legs.
• Wear a medical alert pendant or bracelet that lists your condition
• Stop smoking. Ask your doctor for help.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT:
• Early treatment focuses on weight loss and exercise. With the
proper combination, your blood sugar level may drop low enough that
you will not need medication.
• Good control of blood sugars decreases the chance of complications
and lessens the risk of progression to insulin-dependent diabetes.
• Complications are most common with long-standing and poorly
controlled diabetes. Most can be prevented or slowed by following a
proper diet and exercise program.
Complications of diabetes may include:
• Increased risk of heart attacks and stroke
• Kidney disease
• Blindness or fluctuating vision
• Peripheral neuropathy - Involves nerve damage of the extremities,
which may cause numbness, itching, and burning of the feet and hands
• Gangrene of the feet - May require amputation.
CALL 1061 OR SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL
If you have symptoms of diabetes; if you make significant
changes in your diet or exercise schedule (may require a medication
change); if you are ill for more than 1 day; or if you suffer from
an infection or injury, vision changes, or symptoms of high or low