Leaving the doctor’s office with an unexpected diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes is the last thing anybody wants to experience. In light of National Diabetes Awareness Month in November, it’s time we shine a light on this chronic and often debilitating condition.  

What is Type 2 Diabetes? 

Type 2 Diabetes is a disease where the body loses its ability to properly regulate and use sugar. It’s the result of your body struggling to make insulin – a hormone that works to control how much sugar is in your blood at any given time.  


If you develop Type 2 Diabetes, it means that your body cannot produce or use insulin well. The result is glucose remains in your bloodstream, and doesn’t make it to your cells. The body begins fighting back by producing even more insulin which signals your body to store more fat. In the long term, this response can lead to significant health issues. Although concerning, there are steps you can take to prevent the onset of Type 2 Diabetes and even manage it if you have already been diagnosed.  

Who’s Affected? 

Did you know more than 34 million, or 1 in 10 Americans have some form of diabetes? Of those people, more than 7 million remain undiagnosed. The prevalence of this chronic condition has continued to rise for decades despite rigorous reporting and awareness, especially amongst children. 


As of 2015, there are nearly 90 million children and young adults, 18 and younger, who have been classified as prediabetic. While prediabetes is curable, many who fall in this classification aren’t aware they have prediabetes. As a result, they never take the necessary steps to avoid long-term damage. The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in children continues to rise, especially for Latinos, Asian/Pacific Islanders, and African Americans. 

What are the Associated Risks Factors? 

The likelihood of developing Type 2 Diabetes is dependent on a variety of factors relating to your genetics and lifestyle. While you can’t change your family history, ethnicity, or age, there are steps you can take to improve your lifestyle. Whether it’s a better diet, more physical activity, or an ideal BMI (18.5-24.9), these are just a few things that can lower your chances of developing this condition. 


If you are concerned that you may be on track to or already have developed Type 2 Diabetes, here are a few risk factors to keep in mind: 

  • Age 45 years or older 

  • Overweight or obesity 

  • Family history of diabetes 

  • African American, Alaska Native, Asian American, Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Native American 

  • Low HDL cholesterol or high triglyceride levels 

  • High blood pressure 

  • Physical inactivity  

  • Depression 

  • History of heart disease or stroke 

  • PCOS 

  • Dark, thick, velvety skin around your neck and/or armpits 

  • History of gastrointestinal diabetes 

  • Gave birth to a baby weighing 9 lbs. or more 


With the rise in the rate of people having overweight and obesity, there has also been a rise in Type 2 Diabetes. The quicker you educate yourself, seek help and take the necessary actions to combat this condition, the healthier you can and will be. Although the above can help guide you in determining whether you have early signs of Type 2 Diabetes, it is important to ultimately consult with your health care provider before making assumptions about your current health status. But whatever you do, don’t ignore the signs – take action!