Type 2 diabetes start showing its symptoms as long as 10 years before it gets diagnosed in patients, who often have no idea about their condition before the damage is done.
Type 2 is a condition where the body does not produce enough insulin, and the cells ignore the insulin it does have. The condition may cause damage to the heart, kidneys, nerves and eyes.
"Diabetes damages blood vessels slowly over a period of time, much like termites roaming through the crevices of your house. Most people have no idea how serious these problems are until it's too late," said Dr. Dale J. Hamilton, director of the Diabetes Heart Program at The Methodist Hospital in Houston.
Type 2 is the most common and fast-growing form of diabetes and its risk factors include blood pressure higher than 130 over 80; waist line bigger than 35 inches in women, and 40 inches in men; HDL or "good" cholesterol less than 40 in men, and 50 in women; triglyceride levels over 200; fasting glucose over 100.
Many experts think that replacing sugar with high fructose corn syrup in processed foods in the United States and Canada in the 1990s has played a role in the rise of type 2 diabetes cases.
"The problem with high fructose corn syrup is that it promotes central obesity or a big stomach, one of the major factors in type 2 diabetes. Another problem with it is that it fools your body into thinking you are hungry. I don't think you need to eliminate it from your diet, you just need to be aware of how much of it you are consuming on a daily basis because too much can lead to serious weight gain," said Hamilton.
And the ways to rid one's body of type 2 diabetes include exercise at least 30 minutes at a time, five days a week; lose weight; consulting doctor about medication to lower triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
Most patients with diabetes die from heart and blood vessel related problems, especially heart attacks and strokes.
However, the underlying causes of diabetes are often under treated because there is little or no pain involved.
"Having three or more of the risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes over an extended period of time is the equivalent of already having a heart attack.
These risk factors need to be treated aggressively in order to curb the problem and give you a better chance at a longer, healthier life," said Hamilton.