Usually, the body uses glucose to generate energy. This glucose is obtained from the food that is eaten, and the body only requires the glucose in optimum amounts. So hormone insulin is used to help the liver utilize the glucose properly in cases where the glucose level in the body is above average. The pancreas secretes the hormone insulin.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can’t utilize glucose well. In this case, their pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin. However, in some cases, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body cannot utilize it well. Therefore, all glucose from digested food will not be used by the body, i.e., stays in the body leading to abnormally high glucose levels.
Typically, people with type 2 diabetes are described as having insulin resistance. Keep in mind that Type 2 diabetes is a chronic/lifelong condition. You can only manage it when you get the disease. Managing techniques include proper diet and exercises, which regulate the level of glucose in the blood. Similarly, insulin therapy and diabetes medication may be needed in some cases. However, the best practice is to prevent it.
Initially, this type of diabetes used to affect the middle-aged and older members of the society, hence the name of adult-onset diabetes. Currently, things have changed; kids and teens are being diagnosed with the disease majorly due to childhood obesity.
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes
Some elements within the body of a person or even within the environment can make you develop diabetes. However, it is vital to remember that anyone can get diabetes regardless of their age. If you have a combination of the following factors, then your chances of developing type 2 diabetes are high:
- 45 years or older
- Having a Family history of diabetes, i.e., if you have a parent, brother or sister having diabetes
- Overweight or obesity
- High triglycerides
- Ethnicity – type 2 diabetes is common in people of the following origin African American, Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
- Physical inactivity
- Low HDL cholesterol
- Heart and blood vessel diseases
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Delivering a baby weighing more than 9 pound
- Pregnancy – gestational diabetes
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes often develops slowly. For this reason, some people might have this type of diabetes for many years without noticing it. Mainly, the symptoms may be too mild to notice. Some of the signs to check out for include:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger
- Reduced immunity shown by contracting infections frequently
- Unexplained fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Numbness/tingling in the feet or hands
- Poor wound healing /Sores that do not heal
- Unexplained weight loss
- Signs of insulin resistance – Dark rashes around the neck or armpits (Acanthosis nigricans)
Causes of type 2 diabetes
The pancreas secretes insulin, which is meant to aid in the utilization of glucose, i.e., turn it into energy. Sometimes, the pancreas makes insulin, but the body cells do not use insulin as well as it should. This prompts the pancreas to secrete more insulin so that it can make the glucose enter the cells. This works for a short period because it can keep up; thus, the glucose accumulates in the blood.
Type 2 diabetes is as a result of a combination of factors, including:
- Genes: some bits of DNA affects how the body makes insulin
- Overweight/obesity: may result in insulin resistance especially if the extra weight is around the mid-section
Other causes include physical inactivity, too much glucose from the liver, miscommunication between cells, and damaged beta cells.
Type 2 diabetes Diagnosis and tests
The type of test you get depends on the symptoms you have. Usually, the doctors test the blood for signs of diabetes. It might take two days. However, if you have many symptoms related to type 2 diabetes, a sign test is enough. Common tests include:
- A1C: an average blood sugar for the past two months.
- Fasting plasma glucose: measures your blood sugar on an empty stomach, i.e., no food for 8 hours before the test
- Fasting plasma glucose: tests blood sugar before eating and 2 hours thereafter.
Type 2 diabetes Treatment
- Medication: the conventional medicines include Metformin, Sulfonylureas, Meglitinides, Thiazolidinediones, DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists, Insulin, and SGLT2 inhibitors.
- Lifestyle changes such as; Weight loss, Healthy eating (eat fewer calories, reducing refined carbs, more fiber and eating fruits and veggies), exercising, and watching blood sugar levels.
You can prevent type 2 diabetes by losing weight, getting active, eating right, and quit smoking.
Prolonged high blood sugar can damage the following:
- Heart and blood vessels
- Urinary bladder
- Sexual problems