About Type 2 Diabetes Risks & Causes

Excess weight is one of the primary causes of Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a condition that affects about 1 in 10 Americans, with Type 2 diabetes accounting for 90-95% of these cases. While the condition mostly developed in people over 45, younger people are now being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as well.

Read on to learn about the causes of Type 2 diabetes, symptoms, diagnosis, and normal blood sugar levels for Type 2 diabetes to prevent or manage this common condition.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes: Biology

While researchers aren’t able to say that there’s a definitive reason that Type 2 diabetes develops, they can identify its effects on the body and risk factors that make you more vulnerable.

In a healthy body, your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin that allows blood sugar into the cells to be used for energy. When you develop Type 2 diabetes, the cells start to resist insulin — referred to as “insulin resistance” — and don’t allow the blood sugar to enter your cells. The pancreas produces more insulin to try to compensate. However, as the blood cells continue to resist, your blood sugar rises above a healthy level and may lead to prediabetes or Type-2 diabetes diagnosis.

If left untreated, Type 2 diabetes causes serious damage to the body. Possible consequences include vision loss, kidney disease, heart disease, and a shorter life expectancy.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes: Risk Factors

The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes (lack of energy, losing weight, dry skin, excessive thirst, frequent urination) often come on slowly and can be hard to spot if you’re not looking for them. For this reason, experts recommend getting tested if you have one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Lead a sedentary lifestyle
  • Are at least 45 years of age
  • Have a family history of Type 2 diabetes
  • Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes
  • Have had a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Are American Indian, Alaska Native, African American, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander, or Asian American

Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis

The first condition that is likely to develop due to Type 2 diabetes causes is called prediabetes — which is estimated to affect 1 in 3 Americans. However, the diagnosis for either prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes is the same: a blood test or series of blood tests. What the doctor will be looking for is whether your blood sugar falls into one of the following ranges:

Normal Blood Sugar Level:
Less than 140mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L)

Prediabetic Blood Sugar Level:
140 to 199 mg/dL (7.8 mmol/L to 11.0 mmol/L)

Normal Blood Sugar Level for Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes
More than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L)

Note: The aim for someone with Type 2 diabetes is to lower this blood glucose range — not to stay in the danger zone. The recommended Type 2 diabetes blood glucose targets are:

  • 70-130 mg/dL (30.9-7.2 mmol/L) for fasting glucose
  • 140-180 mg/dL maximum threshold for blood glucose after a meal (recommendations vary)

Dealing with the Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

Stay within Type 2 diabetes blood glucose targets with testing kits.

Whichever category you find yourself in, there are practical steps you can take to reduce your risks and manage your blood sugar:

  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Eat a nutritious diet that is rich in whole foods and complex carbohydrates.
  • Minimize or remove refined sugars, oils, and flours.
  • Drink water rather than soft drink.
  • Exercise five times a week for 30-60 minutes.
  • Stay within Type 2 diabetes blood glucose targets by using an at-home testing kit.

At OKRA Care, we are here to accompany you on your health journey with accurate, FDA-approved blood sugar meters and information about Type 2 diabetes’ causes and management strategies. Explore our products, and subscribe on your own schedule to maintain normal blood sugar levels for Type 2 diabetes.