Diabetes Type 2 FAQ

Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus, DM ), also known as high blood sugar, is a medical condition that occurs when the body is not able to use sugar(glucose) causing increase in the sugar level in the blood.1,2

The body is unable to use sugar either because the cells producing insulin(a hormone that regulates glucose) have been attacked and killed by the body, or, when the body does not produce sufficient insulin or it fails to use it properly.3,4

Diabetes includes type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. While both lead toan  increase in blood sugar level, differences exist in terms of cause, mechanisms of disease(how the disease process occurs), onset of symptom, management and treatment, risk factors and age of onset.3,4

Type 1 diabetes known previously as Insulin dependent DM, Juvenile or Childhood Onset DM( both type 1 and type can begin during childhood and adulthood,  hence making the term incorrect and obsolete, though type 1 is more common in childhood and type 2 more common in adulthood) is an autoimmune condition meaning, the body's immune system attacks the pancreas cells which produce insulin.3 

Type 2 diabetes previously known as non-insulin dependent DM or adult onset DM( both type 1 and type can begin during childhood and adulthood,  hence making the term incorrect and obsolete, though type 1 is more common in childhood and type 2 more common in adulthood) is caused by an inability of the body to effectively use insulin due to excess body weight and lack of physical activity.3 

While type 1 and type 2 DM have the same symptoms, the symptoms appear earlier and more severe in type 1, and develop slowly in type 2. Also, lifestyle factors such as obesity, overweight, lack of physical activity have been identified as risk factors in developing type 2 DM.1

What are the signs of diabetes type 2?

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes come on much later than symptoms in type 2 and are usually less severe, hence; diagnosing might be made much later and complication could have set in before diagnosis.

Symptoms include:

  • Excessive urination(polyuria) 
  • Excessive thirst(polydipsia) 
  • Constant hunger 
  • Excessive eating( polyphagia) 
  • Weight loss 
  • Fatigue 
  • Changes in vision/blurred vision
  • Longer wound healing time 
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet1,2,3,4

Does type 2 diabetes require meds?

Lifestyle behaviour such as overweight, obesity and lack of physical activities have been identified as risk factors of developing type 2 diabetes, hence; loosing weight, exercising and diet can help manage diabetes.1 

If diet, loosing weight and exercising are not enough to manage the diabetes, medications are the next line of action. If medications are not sufficiently controlling the blood sugar, insulin therapy will be introduced.1

The National Health Service states that most people need medications to control type 2 diabetes, and may need to use it for the rest of their lives( medication type and dose may change over time).5

What is type 2 diabetes mainly caused by?

Type 2 diabetes is caused by an inability of the body to effectively use insulin due to excess body weight and lack of physical activity3

Overweight, obesity, lack of physical activity makes an individual more likely to develop type 2 diabetes because excess weight can prevent the muscles, liver and fat cells from using insulin well, known as insulin resistance, and this usually signify the beginning of type 2 diabetes.6

Certain racial/ethnic groups have more likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, or becoming overweight/obese which predisposes to type 2 diabetes. These racial/ethnic groups include:

  • African Americans
  • Alaska Natives
  • American Indians
  • Asian Americans
  • Hispanics/Latinos
  • Native Hawaiians
  • Pacific Islanders6

What is the fastest way to cure type 2 diabetes?

There is no cure for diabetes(either type 1 or 2), yet. However, remission is possible. Remission is when blood glucose is in the normal, healthy range. This does not mean that the diabetes has 'gone or been cured'.7 

Lifestyle modification such as loosing weight, diet, exercising can help attain remission. Regular checking of blood glucose, keeping up with medical appointment and using medications as directed by the physician remains the modality of type 2 DM management.1

What is the youngest age for type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes can occur at any age, even in children, but it often occurs in middle aged people above 45 years old.8

Despite it being more common in middle aged adults, increase in number of children with obesity has led to more cases of younger people and children developing type 2 diabetes.9

Many children often with identified risk factor of obesity/excess weight often develop type 2 diabetes in their teenage years, but it can occur at any age.9

How do you know if your child has type 2 diabetes?

A child with obesity/excess weight can develop symptoms which can hint at type 2 diabetes. The symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination 
  • Increased hunger 
  • Increased thirst 
  • Fatigue/Tiredness
  • Blurred vision 
  • Frequent infection
  • Darkened area of skin around the neck, armpit9

What foods should be avoided with type 2 diabetes?

Eating healthy, exercising and loosing weight will help control blood sugar level.10

A person with type 2 diabetes can eat anything, but certain foods will have to be reduced or eaten in moderation.10

The American Diabetes Association recommends reducing intake of processed, refined, fast foods and take more of whole, unprocessed food.4

Sugar, fat and salt should be kept to be a minimum, meals should not be skipped and a wide range of food that includes fruits, vegetables and some starch like pasta should be eaten.10

What juice is good for type 2 diabetes?

Fruit juice has high amount of sugar and it has been found to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.11

It is healthier to eat whole fruit than drinking fruit juice or fruit smoothies. Drinking juiced non-starchy vegetables is more healthier as it contains less carbohydrates.11

Is it okay for a type 2 diabetic to drink alcohol?

People living with type 2 diabetes can still drink alcohol, however, caution must be taken.12

Alcohol can increase the danger of hypoglycaemia(low blood sugar levels). If blood glucose is well controlled, drinking moderate amount of alcohol could also be fine.12

It is important to avoid drinking on empty stomach, taking an excessive amount of alcohol or replacing regular meals with alcohol because it can increase the risk of hypoglycaemia.12


  1. Diabetes - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic n.d. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444 (accessed September 19, 2022).
  2. Diabetes: Types, Risk Factors, Symptoms, Tests, Treatments & Prevention. Cleveland Clinic n.d. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/7104-diabetes-mellitus-an-overview (accessed September 19, 2022).
  3. Diabetes n.d. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes (accessed September 19, 2022).
  4. Differences between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Diabetes UK n.d. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/differences-between-type-1-and-type-2-diabetes (accessed September 19, 2022).
  5. Type 2 diabetes - Understanding medicine. NhsUk 2017. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/understanding-medication/ (accessed September 20, 2022).
  6. Symptoms & Causes of Diabetes | NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases n.d. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/symptoms-causes (accessed September 21, 2022). 
  7. Is there a cure for diabetes? Diabetes UK n.d. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/is-there-a-cure (accessed September 21, 2022) 
  8. Type 2 Diabetes | NIDDK. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases n.d. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes/type-2-diabetes (accessed September 22, 2022)
  9.  Type 2 diabetes in children - Symptoms and causes. Mayo Clinic n.d. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes-in-children/symptoms-causes/syc-20355318 (accessed September 22, 2022)
  10. Type 2 diabetes - Food and keeping active. NhsUk 2018. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/food-and-keeping-active/ (accessed September 22, 2022) 
  11. Watts M. Fruit juice has, until recently, been considered a great way to get your five a day. people with diabetes need to moderate fruit juice intake. Diabetes 2022. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/food/juice-and-diabetes.html (accessed September 22, 2022) 
  12. Watts M. There is no need for people with diabetes to give up alcohol simply because of their diabetes. Although alcohol does have an effect on blood sugar levels, with a few precautions and careful management, people with diabetes can also enjoy a drink. Diabetes 2022. https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-and-alcohol.html (accessed September 22, 2022) 

Oluwadamilola Fasanya

MBBS(in-view), Medicine, University of Lagos

Oluwadamilola Fasanya is a medical doctor-in-training, a health systems enthusiast and a creative writer.
She is passionate about strengthening health care systems through creating health content that educate, empower and give people across the globe the enlightenment needed to take charge of their health.

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