What is type 2 diabetes? diabetes symptoms?

Type 2 diabetes:

Diabetes is another word for diabetes. There is too much sugar (glucose) in your blood. In type 2 diabetes, this is because cells in your body do not respond properly to insulin. Insulin is a hormone.

type 2 diabetes

Insulin ensures that cells remove enough sugar from the blood. For example, if you eat or drink carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, jam, cookies or lemonade.

If you have type 2 diabetes, things will not go well. Too much sugar remains in the blood. That’s bad for your body. If it takes a long time, you will suffer damage to, for example, your eyes, heart and kidneys.

What do I notice about type 2 diabetes?

People often do not notice that their blood sugar is elevated.

Some people do get complaints, such as:

  • Pee a lot
  • thirst
  • fatigue
  • to fall off
  • often bladder infection
  • in women: itching of the labia
  • in men: often inflammation of the glans penis

If you have high blood sugars for years, you can damage your eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels. You may then experience complaints, such as:

  • vision worse
  • pain and tingling in your arms and legs
  • less feeling in your feet
  • wounds on your feet that heal poorly
  • problems walking
  • in men: it is difficult or impossible to get an erect penis

With diabetes you are also more likely to:

  • diseases of your heart and blood vessels, such as a heart attack or a stroke
  • psychological complaints, such as depression

How does type 2 diabetes develop?

With type 2 diabetes, the cells in your body have become less sensitive to diabetesinsulin. Not enough sugar goes from the blood to the cells. This causes the blood sugar to become too high.

  • This can happen if you are overweight.
  • Heredity also plays a role.
  • Your origins can also play a role.

If you are of Hindustani, Surinamese, Moroccan or Turkish descent, you are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes usually only occurs after the age of 40. It also occurs at a younger age, especially in people who are overweight.

How does the GP check whether I have diabetes?

To see if you have diabetes, your doctor will measure your blood sugar.

You have diabetes if:

  • your fasting blood sugar is 7 or higher on two different days
  • your fasting blood sugar is 7 or higher on one day and you have complaints
  • your blood sugar is 11 or higher on one day and you have complaints

Fasting means: in the morning when you have not eaten or drunk anything yet.

Before having your blood sugar tested, you should only drink water.

Treatment for type 2 diabetes:


Healthy living is the first step in the treatment of type 2 diabetes:

  • Your blood sugar may drop.
  • You can lose weight.
  • You feel fitter.
  • Your blood pressure may drop.
  • You are less likely to develop diseases of your heart and blood vessels, such as a heart attack or stroke.

If you live a healthy lifestyle, you can delay or avoid the need for medication.

Eat regularly and healthy:

  • 3 healthy meals every day
  • no more than 4 times a day a snack
  • lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grain products, legumes and nuts
  • fatty fish such as herring, mackerel or salmon once a week
  • few products made from white flour, such as white bread, cookies and snacks
  • little red or processed meat, such as sausage and cold cuts
  • a few portions of dairy without sugar per day, such as yoghurt
  • Drink 1.5 to 2 liters per day, preferably water, tea and coffee without sugar
  • preferably avoid drinks that contain sugar, such as fruit juice and soft drinks
  • no alcohol. Do you still want to drink alcohol? Do not drink more than 1 glass of alcohol per day and preferably not every day
Read more tips about healthy eating with type 2 diabetes.

Move a lot:

  • Is your weight right? Then exercise intensively for at least half an hour a day.
  • Are you overweight? Then exercise intensively for an hour every day.
  • When you exercise intensively, you have a fast heart rate and you breathe quickly. You may pant and sweat.
  • For example, go for a brisk walk, cycle or swim.
  • For example, you can also go running or rowing, if that works.
  • Do an activity or sport that suits you. And agree to exercise together with your partner or a friend. That’s more fun. And you better stick with it.
  • Don’t start moving a lot all at once, but move a little more each time.
  • A little extra exercise is already good for your health. For example, take the stairs more often and get groceries by bike.

Other exercise advice:

  • Do exercises that strengthen your muscles and bones at least twice a week.
  • Exercise your balance, especially if you are older.
  • Don’t sit still much. For example, fold the laundry while standing.

Read more tips about healthy exercise . Or watch the video .

Watch your weight:

Check here if you are overweight .

  • Are you overweight ? Then make sure you don’t gain any more weight. And try to lose weight by eating healthy and exercising a lot.
  • Losing weight is often difficult. Yet there are many people who succeed. Losing a little weight is already good for your health. For example, losing weight from 90 kilos to 85 kilos.
  • You may be able to participate in a lifestyle program . You will learn to eat healthy, exercise more and how to maintain this. This way you can lose weight in a healthy way. You will receive help from a lifestyle coach, dietician, physiotherapist and exercise therapist. Your GP can refer you.

Stop smoking:

If you smoke you have a greater chance of developing diabetes. It is therefore important that you stop smoking.

Do you want to quit smoking ? Discuss with your doctor how you want to do this. You can use the Stop smoking selection table for this .

Relax and sleep well:

People with a lot of stress or sleep problems have a greater risk of type 2 diabetes.

  • Make sure you relax enough .
  • Address the causes of your stress .
  • See how you can sleep better .

Night shifts:

People who work a lot at night for years have a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

  • Make sure you live a healthy lifestyle if you often work at night .

Medicines for type 2 diabetes:

medicine for diabetes

It is not always possible to achieve good blood sugar simply by living a healthy lifestyle. Sometimes you also need medication to lower your blood sugar.

Together with your doctor, you will determine which medications are best for you to use. That has to do with the rest of your health:

  1. Do you have any disease of your heart, blood vessels or kidneys ? Then the treatment usually goes like this:

  • You will usually be given pills firstmetformin.
  • Does your blood sugar remain too high? Then you will sometimes be given other pills (usuallygliclazide).
  • Is your blood sugar still too high? Then you caninsulininjections or other third medication may be necessary.
  1. Do you have a disease of your heart, blood vessels or kidneys ?Then the treatment usually goes like this:

  • You will first be given a pill to help you pass out sugar.
  • Does your blood sugar remain too high? You will then be given metformin as well.
  • Is your blood sugar still too high? Then an injection with a blood sugar lowering agent or another third medication may be necessary.

Even if you receive medication, it is important that you continue to eat healthy and exercise enough every day.

Do you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol? Then you can also receive medication for this.

Get the flu shot every year . Your diabetes makes you more likely to have health problems if you get the flu. For example, pneumonia.

What happens with type 2 diabetes?

It is important that you keep your diabetes under good control .

You can check your blood sugar yourself. You also regularly visit the GP practice for check-ups. The appointment is usually with the practice assistant.

  1. You usually come to the GP practice for a check-up every 3 months .
  2. Then you discuss how things are going.
  3. You will receive advice about healthy living with type 2 diabetes .
  4. Even if you take medication for diabetes, a healthy lifestyle remains very important.
  5. Do you want to change your diet ?
  6. Discuss this with a dietician. Also if you want to follow a special diet.
  7. You can ask questions about your medications .
  8. If necessary, your medications will be adjusted.
  9. Are you going to fast, for example during Ramadan ?
  10. Talk to your GP or practice nurse about this in advance.
  11. Do you often work at night ?
  12. Discuss with your employer how you can work as healthily as possible at night.
  13. The company doctor can also help with this.
  14. Are you going on holiday abroad?
  15. Talk to your GP or practice nurse about this in advance.
  16. Your blood sugar may change, for example:
  • due to time difference
  • because it is warmer or colder
  • by eating differently

You decide together with your doctor what is best for you. It helps to prepare this conversation with your doctor well .

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