Patient Information about Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes accounts for more than 90% of all cases of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes type 2, which usually develops later in life, also is called non-insulin-dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes. In most cases, this type of diabetes is related to obesity and can be controlled through diet, nutrition, exercise, weight loss, and oral medications.

Type 2 diabetes develops when the pancreas produces inadequate amounts of insulin or when the body becomes resistant to this hormone. Some patients with type 2 diabetes eventually need insulin injections to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Symptoms of diabetes type 2 develop gradually over time and may be mild and unnoticeable. The condition often is diagnosed during routine laboratory tests.

Here are some questions to ask your doctor or certified diabetes educator (C.D.E.) about type 2 diabetes. Print this page, note the questions you would like answered, and take it with you to your next appointment. The more knowledge you have about type 2 diabetes, the easier it will be to make important decisions about managing your condition.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor about Type 2 Diabetes

  • What causes this type of diabetes?
  • What factors increase the risk for diabetes type 2?
  • Why do you suspect that I have type 2 diabetes?
  • How will you confirm this diagnosis?
  • What other conditions might be causing my symptoms?
  • How will having type 2 diabetes affect my daily life?
  • Are my children at increased risk for developing diabetes?
  • Does having diabetes increase the risk for complications or other diseases? If so, what are the signs of diabetes complications?
  • How can I reduce the risk for complications related to type 2 diabetes?
  • How is type 2 diabetes usually managed?
  • What type of treatment do you recommend?
  • What are the benefits, risks, and side effects of this treatment?
  • Will my diabetes treatment require lifestyle changes, such as diet, exercise, and weight loss?
  • What kinds of exercise and how much daily exercise do you recommend?
  • Are there any types of exercise that should be avoided?
  • Might working with a nutritionist or dietician be helpful?

    Name of Nutritionist/Dietician: Telephone number to call:

  • What kind(s) of medical specialist(s) will be involved in my diabetes care?
  • What is a certified diabetes educator (C.D.E.)?
  • How will my type 2 diabetes be monitored?
  • What does testing blood sugar levels involve?
  • What should my blood glucose level be?
  • How often should I test my blood sugar levels?
  • What should I do if I experience hyperglycemia? What about if I experience hypoglycemia?
  • What special precautions should I take as a result of having type 2 diabetes?
  • What medication(s) might be necessary to treat my condition?
  • What are the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of these medications?
  • If my blood sugar levels stabilize, might I be able to discontinue my diabetes medications? Why or why not?
  • Might I require insulin to manage my type 2 diabetes? If so, what does this treatment involve?
  • Do you recommend wearing a medical alert bracelet or carrying a medical card to notify other people of my type 2 diabetes in case of an emergency?
  • What should I do if I get sick with a cold or flu?
  • How might getting older affect my type 2 diabetes?
  • Do you recommend participation in a clinical trial for patients who have type 2 diabetes? Why or why not?

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 20 Apr 2009

Last Modified: 08 Oct 2015