LittlePeopleLogo     Type II Diabetes Mellitus


What is type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus?

Type II diabetes is a disorder that occurs when your pancreas does not make enough insulin to meet your body's needs. When your body does not have enough insulin, the cells of your body do not absorb enough sugar from your blood. As a result, you have high levels of sugar in your blood.

Type II diabetes occurs mostly in adults over age 40, especially overweight adults. Overweight children and adolescents can also have this type of diabetes.

What are the symptoms?

Type II diabetes may cause the following symptoms:

• increased urination

• excessive thirst and the drinking of a lot of fluids

• increased appetite

• weight gain or loss

• blurred vision

• skin infections

• vaginal infections

• tiredness

• slowly healing sores

• abnormal feelings of prickling, burning, or itching of the skin, usually on the hands or feet

• infections of the foreskin in uncircumcised men.

Some people have no symptoms.

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and test the level of sugar in your blood. He or she may also test a sample of your urine for sugar.

How is it treated?

The major goal of treatment is to control the level of sugar in your blood. This is done by meal planning, exercise, and medication.

Your doctor or a dietitian will give you clear guidelines about which foods you should eat and how many calories you should eat each day. If you are overweight, the main treatment is to eat less. Limiting the calories in your diet will help you lose weight. Losing even 7 to 10 pounds can reduce or eliminate your need to take medication for diabetes.

Physical activity is important in managing type II diabetes. Exercise improves your circulation and uses up more sugar in your blood. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do. Ask your doctor for exercise recommendations.

How can I take care of myself?


• Follow your diet.

• Use a scale to weigh portions of food.

• Learn how to make healthy choices when you eat out.

To maintain your diet, you can:

• Drink water or other noncaloric drinks when you have the urge to eat between meals.

• Avoid compulsive eating.

• Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.

• Buy only the types of food included in your diet.

• Eat on a regular schedule.

• Eat only at a table.

• Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly.

Learn how to do proper skin and foot care every day. Always carry identification that says you have diabetes, in case of an emergency.

You can get pamphlets and information about diabetes, including diabetic cookbooks, from:

The American Diabetes Association
1660 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

1-800-ADA-DISC, or 1-800-232-3472

What can be done to help prevent type II diabetes mellitus?

Even if there is a history of diabetes in your family, you may be able to avoid developing the disease if you:

• Maintain your recommended weight.

• Exercise regularly.