Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease in which the level of sugar in the blood is higher than normal. Disease onset is typically in adults over the age of 40, and the incidence increases heavily with advancing age.
However, an increasing number of younger people are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; the causes are many and complex.
People with type 2 diabetes still produce insulin, but their insulin is not effective (insulin resistance) and/or not enough insulin is produced to meet the body's demand. Insulin is a hormone that assists in transporting the glucose that our bodies produce from carbohydrates into the cells where it is stored until we need it.
Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease. With early detection and treatment, the course of the disease will be more favourable, and the complications of diabetes will be easier to prevent.
The onset of type 2 diabetes may be slow with only vague symptoms.It may therefore take a long time before a diagnosis is made.
Around 350,000 people in Norway have type 2 diabetes. Of these, we estimate that around half have diabetes unawares. The number of people in Norway with type 2 diabetes has quadrupled within the last 50 years. An estimated 6000–7000 people in Norway annually are diagnosed with the disease.
Treatment is based primarily on training for self-care. To achieve glycaemic control (keep blood sugar at a normal level), various measures may be needed: dietary changes, increased physical activity and weight reduction.
Many people (approx. 70%) with type 2 diabetes require blood-sugar lowering tablets or insulin as well.
For better insights into your own disease, you should be able to test your own blood glucose. Treatment with insulin and certain anti-diabetic drugs may cause hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar/hypos) with a blood glucose of below 4 mmol/l. In tablet treatment, severe hypos rarely occur.
It is important to be aware that you are entitled to training in managing your disease. Your regular GP will be the one who refers you for the introductory course/training. This course is run by health professionals, and provides information about the disease, types of treatment, self-care, coping, your rights and medical follow-up.