Understanding More About Type 2 Diabetes
You may be asking yourself "What is Type 2 Diabetes"? Diabetes is a chronic disease that changes the way that your body reacts to sugar, or glucose, in your blood.
Glucose is your body’s main source of fuel. It can be found in foods like bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, fruit, and milk. The hormone responsible for ensuring that glucose can be used by your cells is produced by your pancreas. People with type 2 diabetes either don’t produce enough of the hormone or can’t use what is produced effectively. As a result, they have trouble maintaining their blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1. In the United States alone, there are approximately 27 million people living who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Another 86 million have prediabetes, which means that their blood glucose levels are higher than those of a healthy individual, but not as high as someone who has diabetes. Most but not all people who have prediabetes eventually develop diabetes.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?
In the case of both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, cells stop responding to the sugar neutralizing hormone. This is known as IR. The pancreas, which is responsible for making the hormone, usually tries to make more. But after a while, it can’t keep up, and glucose builds up in the blood. Meanwhile, cells are left without their energy source.
Though the exact cause of type 2 diabetes is unknown, there are a number of factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing of the disease. Research has indicated that DNA can affect how your body produces the hormone. Being overweight or obese is also strongly linked to IR, especially if that weight is carried around your midsection. People with high blood pressure, high “bad” cholesterol, and high triglycerides are more likely to have IR.
Type 2 diabetes was once known as “adult-onset” diabetes because it most commonly affected adults and developed as a result of unhealthy lifestyle habits. However, with the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity, the American Diabetes Association now estimates that approximately 3,600 people under the age of 20 are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes every single year.
Who Develops Type 2 Diabetes?
The more risk factors you have experienced, the more likely you are to develop prediabetes or type 2 diabetes.
Some of the risk factors for type 2 diabetes are beyond your control. These include:
- Age. People who are over the age of 45 are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
- Family history. People who have a direct relative who has type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop the disease as well.
- Ethnicity. African-Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Latinos, and Pacific Islander-Americans are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
Other factors have to do with your medical history. These include:
- Being overweight or obese
- High blood pressure
- Low levels of good (HDL) cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- Heart and blood vessel diseases
- Having a baby that weighed more than 9 pounds
- Having gestational diabetes during a pregnancy
Finally, some risk factors have to do with your lifestyle. Leading a healthier lifestyle can help to delay the onset of diabetes if you already have prediabetes. These include:
- Exercising infrequently
- Being a smoker
- Having high stress levels
- Sleeping excessively or too little
If you’re at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, listen to your doctor’s advice. He or she may prescribe medication and help you make small lifestyle changes, such as:
- Losing weight. Losing 7-10 percent of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 50 percent.
- Exercise. When you work out, you’re also training you’re endocrine system to produce more of the hormone.
- Eat healthy. Processed carbohydrates, sugary drinks, red and processed meats, and trans and saturated fats can greatly increase your risk of developing diabetes.
- Stop smoking. Speak to a healthcare professional to find out how to avoid gaining weight when you quit.
Symptoms of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes may be mild enough that you don’t even notice them. An estimated 8 million people have type 2 diabetes and don’t know it. In general, higher blood glucose levels are associated with more severe symptoms.
Some of the most common indicators of type 2 diabetes include:
- Excessive urination
- Extreme hunger
- Unexplained weight loss
- Feeling very thirsty
- Tingly or numb sensations in the hands/feet
- Blurred vision
- Wounds taking longer than usual to heal
- Frequent infections
The symptoms of type 1 diabetes are highly similar to those of type 2. But type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood and comes on very quickly, as opposed to appearing gradually over time.
You should see a doctor if you have experienced more than one of the symptoms listed above. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your child, contact your doctor immediately. The sooner diabetes is diagnosed, the sooner you can access treatment.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you can still lead an independent, healthy, and active life. You should, however, make a commitment to actively managing your diabetes. A medical health professional can help you to consider the following:
- Education. Speak to a diabetes educator to learn more about your condition. The more you know about the disease, the easier it will be to manage your symptoms.
- Nutrition. What, when, and how much you eat can have a big impact on your symptoms.
- Exercise. Leading an active life is incredibly important in helping your body to naturally lower your blood glucose levels, decrease stress levels, and maintain a healthy weight.
- Medication. Type 2 diabetes may be treated through lifestyle changes. It may also require medication or injections to help control glucose levels.
- Lifestyle. Reducing day-to-day stress levels can help to reduce symptoms of diabetes.
- Blood pressure. People with diabetes should try to maintain a blood pressure level at or below 130/80. To do so, you might need to change your diet and activity level and/or take medication.
No information on this website should be used to start the use of dietary supplements and vitamins, natural and herbal products, homeopathic medicine and other mentioned products prior to a consultation with a physician or certified healthcare provider.