Type 2 Diabetes

At MaineHealth, we have experienced health care teams to work closely with you and your family to develop and provide the right care plan for testing, treating and managing your Type 2 diabetes.

What is Type 2 diabetes?

With Type 2 diabetes, your body does not efficiently use sugar as a source of energy because your body does not make or use insulin as it should. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose (sugar) get into the cells of your body. In Type 2 diabetes, the sugar builds up in your blood instead of getting into the cells where it is needed. The buildup can cause serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and infections and circulation problems that can lead to the loss of limbs.

Who’s at risk of Type 2 diabetes?

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include: older age, being overweight or obese,  family history of diabetes, sedentary lifestyle (not getting  enough exercise and physical activity) and certain ethnic groups. Type 2 diabetes used to be called adult-onset diabetes, but now more children are getting Type 2 diabetes.

Know Type 2 diabetes signs and symptoms

Type 2 diabetes symptoms can happen slowly over time. Some people do not notice symptoms. Type 2 diabetes symptoms can include:

  • Being very thirsty

  • Urinating a lot

  • Feeling very hungry

  • Feeling very tired

  • Losing weight without being on a diet

  • Having sores that take a long time to heal

  • Having blurry eyesight

Screening for Type 2 diabetes

If you have any of the above symptoms, call your doctor. Blood tests can show if you have Type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends routine screening for Type 2 diabetes, if you’re 45 or older. Screening for Type 2 diabetes is recommended for people who are under age 45 and overweight.

Treating Type 2 diabetes

There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes. But people can control and manage Type 2 diabetes with:

  • Regular exercise and increased physical activity

  • Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight

  • Healthy eating

  • Managing stress

  • Diabetes medication and insulin therapy, as prescribed

  • Checking blood sugars



Diabetes and Organ Transplants

Sometimes patients develop diabetes after an organ transplant. Called "new-onset diabetes," Type 2 diabetes may happen because of the medication patients take to stop organ rejection. It is possible for the diabetes to go away, if your provider decreases your medication or changes it. Steroids, which are given after an organ transplant, may lead to diabetes. Patients often stop steroids about six months after a transplant, which may cause the diabetes to go away.

If you experience diabetes after an organ transplant, you will need to take medication to control your diabetes. It will also be important to have a healthy lifestyle, which includes exercise, nutritious foods and maintaining control of your sugar levels. Talk to your provider for assistance. Your provider may refer you to a nutritionist, who can help.

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