Type 2 Diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a chronic condition characterized by insulin resistance, when your body’s cells do not respond effectively to insulin, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. It often develops in adulthood and is associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity and low physical activity.

More than 1 in 10 Americans are estimated to have diabetes, and about 20% of them don’t know it, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Prediabetes means you have a high blood sugar level that isn’t high enough to be considered Type 2 diabetes. If you have prediabetes, you are at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.

If you have diabetes, you also have increased risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation of extremities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes have different causes and different treatments. The overlap between symptoms for each is significant, especially for adults newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Your primary care provider can help diagnose and treat diabetes and prediabetes. Some patients prefer to work with an endocrinologist, who provides a specialized approach to diagnosing and managing your condition.

Diagnosing diabetes is done with a simple blood test to measure your blood sugar. Before the test, you will be asked to fast overnight or for at least eight hours to assess how well your body is able to regulate your blood glucose level on an empty stomach. If your blood sugar levels are elevated while fasting, it may be an indication of impaired fasting glucose — which is a sign of prediabetes or diabetes if the levels are consistently high.

If you are at risk for Type 2 diabetes, make an appointment with your primary care provider to review your health history and to schedule a fasting blood sugar test.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

  • Overweight
  • Age 45 or older
  • Family history of a parent, brother or sister with Type 2 diabetes
  • Low physical activity/exercise fewer than three times a week
  • Gestational diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy) or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Having polycystic ovary syndrome

African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and some Asian Americans are at a higher risk of developing the disease.

Individuals with diabetes may experience skin changes due to factors like insulin resistance or other metabolic issues. Acanthosis nigricans is one such skin condition associated with diabetes, characterized by dark, velvety patches often appearing on the neck, armpits or other skin folds. If you notice unusual skin changes or have concerns about diabetes, consult with a health care professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

Preventing Type 2 Diabetes

Lifestyle changes can have a significant impact on managing prediabetes and reducing your risk of progressing to Type 2 diabetes. The time it takes to reverse prediabetes can vary widely depending on individual factors such as genetics, overall health and the extent of lifestyle changes. However, significant improvements often can be seen within a few months.

Learning about and managing prediabetes makes sense when you consider the host of health issues that accompany life with Type 2 diabetes:

  • Cardiovascular disease. Diabetes increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Nerve damage due to excess sugar can lead to tingling, numbness or pain that gradually spreads from the tips of your toes or fingers.
  • Kidney damage. By damaging the kidneys’ method of filtering waste from your blood, diabetes can lead to kidney failure that requires dialysis or a kidney transplant.
  • Eye damage. Damage to the retina’s blood vessels can lead to blindness.
  • Foot infections. Diabetes causes nerve damage and reduces blood flow to the feet, which increases the risk of cuts and blisters. Left untreated, these wounds can become severely infected and difficult to heal. The condition can result in the need for amputation.


Our diabetes care team offers personalized treatment plans and a digital library for:

  • Diabetes blood glucose monitoring
  • Continuous glucose monitoring
  • Diabetes device training
  • Diabetes self-management education and support
  • Gestational diabetes education
  • Insulin therapy and/or pump education
  • Medication management
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Diabetes support groups for you and your family

Check out our video education series for practical tips before meeting with a member of our team.

Norton Now: Care When You Need It

  • Get medical care when and where it works for you.
    • Norton Community Medical Associates primary care is your medical home. More than 35 locations across the Louisville area and Southern Indiana means there’s an office close to home, work or school. Your primary care physician knows you and your health and performs annual checkups to stay ahead of any emerging conditions. Our doctors and nurse practitioners connect you to the full Norton Healthcare system, giving you and your family easy access to the area’s leading specialty physicians.
    • More than 15 Norton Immediate Care Centers offer treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. Reserve your spot in line and we’ll text you when it’s time to check in. All Norton Immediate Care Centers are equipped with X-ray machines.
    • Norton Prompt Care clinics have same-day appointments available when you need care for yourself or your family. All locations offer extended weekday and weekend hours. Many are located within Walgreens stores.
    • Norton eCare allows you to visit with a provider via secure video or by simply answering questions online about your symptoms.
    • Emergency care is available for a very serious illness or injury that puts your life in danger. Get treatment 24/7 at nine locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana, including three locations for kids.
  • Medicaid, Medicare and most major commercial insurance plans are accepted.
  • Get test results, renew prescriptions, communicate with your health care provider, get notified if an earlier appointment becomes available and more with your free Norton MyChart account.

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