Do you recently feel immensely thirsty or have you been paying visits to the restroom a lot these days lately? You might be experiencing symptoms of diabetes and specifically Type 2 Diabetes.
People with Type 2 Diabetes risk different health problems like high blood sugar levels, heart diseases, kidney diseases, etc.
This article discusses the causes, risk factors, and diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.
To understand Diabetes, you first need to understand the function of your pancreas.
The pancreas is present in the abdomen of the body. In addition to its digestive functions and producing bile, it produces two important hormones i.e. insulin and glucagons.
These two hormones are crucial for the normal regulation of glucose, lipids and protein.
Importance of Insulin and Glucagons
Insulin is a small protein that affects carbohydrates metabolism, fat metabolism, protein metabolism and growth.
Insulin tells the cells in our body, to take in glucose from our bloodstream. As a result, glucose levels go down.
Moreover, some cells in our body, use it as energy while others like the liver and muscles store excess glucose as a substance called glycogen. Our body uses glycogen for fuel between meals.
Glucagons are hormones that affect glucose metabolism.
Moreover, glucagon works to counterbalance the actions of insulin.
The glucose level in our body decreases after eating therefore triggering our pancreas to produce glucagons.
This hormone signals the liver and muscle cells to change the stored glucagons into glucose to release energy.
You might want to know why blood glucose regulation is important.
This is because glucose is the nutrient that provides energy to the brain retina and germinal epithelium of the gonads.
Disorders Caused by Glucose
If the process of regulation of blood glucose doesn’t work properly it might cause a problem with blood sugar level.
Diabetes refers to a group of diseases. In case you have diabetes or pre-diabetes you’re body would use all produced insulin and glucagons in higher or lower concentrations.
There are two types of diabetes;
The Type 1 Diabetes
It is also known as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and is caused due to lack of insulin secretion.
Type 2 Diabetes
It is also known as non-insulin dependant diabetes mellitus and is caused by decreased sensitivity of target tissues to the metabolic effect of insulin.
This insulin sensitivity is often known as insulin resistance.
In both of these types, the metabolism of all main foodstuffs is altered. As a result, blood glucose concentration increases, cell utilization of glucose lowers and utilization of proteins and fats increases.
Type 2 Diabetes-resistance to Metabolic Effects of Insulin
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common diseases found among people in the long term. Often accountable for 90 to 95 percent of all the cases.
This occurs after the age of 30 years, often between the age of 50 and 60. Thus it is often referred to as adult-onset diabetes.
People with this type of diabetes risk developing different health problems like an increase in blood sugar levels, heart diseases, kidney diseases, etc. for the long term.
Recent studies suggest however there has been a steady increase in the number of younger individuals. Some younger than 20 years.
This trend appears mainly due to obesity, one of the most important risk factors for type 2 diabetes in children and adults.
Clinical Characteristics of Patients with Type 2 Diabetes
People with Type 2 Diabetes shows the following clinical features:
Features Type 2
Age at onset usually greater than 30 years
Body mass visceral obesity
Plasma glucose increased
Plasma glucagons high, resistance to suppression
Therapy weight loss metformin, sulfonylurea
Insulin sensitivity reduced
Plasma insulin normal to high initially
Development of Type 2 Diabetes During Prolonged Insulin Resistance
The increased levels of insulin are not sufficient to maintain blood sugar levels with prolonged and severe insulin resistance.
As a result, moderate hyperglycemia occurs in the early stages.
In the latest stages, the pancreatic beta cells become exhausted and unable to produce insulin.
Though, studies suggest, that diabetes may never develop in obese people as their pancreas produce enough insulin to prevent glucose metabolism abnormalities.
But in other obese people, the pancreas gradually becomes exhausted from producing large amounts of insulin, and as a result, diabetes occurs.
Moreover, genetics also plays an important role in determining whether an individual could develop diabetes, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Causes of Insulin Resistance
Clinical studies suggest that people with this type 2 Diabetes show some causes of insulin resistance. These are as follows;
- weight: being overweight or obese is one of the major causes of insulin resistance
- acromegaly: the presence of excess growth hormone in the body can be the cause.
- PCOS: one of the many causes of insulin resistance in polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- lipodystrophy: this cause is associated with lipid accumulation in the liver, is often acquired or genetic.
- autoantibodies: autoantibodies often produced in blood as a result of the insulin receptor.
- Pregnancy: some women may develop this disease as a result of pregnancy.
- Hemochromatosis: it is a heredity disease that causes tissue iron accumulation.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. You could have diabetes and not know it at all.
The symptoms are as follows:
- increased thirst
- frequent urination
- increased hunger
- unintended weight loss
- slow healing
- frequent infections
- numbness in hands or feet
- the darkness of skin like armpits and neck
- blurry vision
If the blood sugar levels have been high for a longer time the symptoms may include:
- yeast infection
- foot pain
You might be at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes if the following factors are present.
Weight: If you are obese or you might be overweight and that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Fat distribution: Storing fat in your abdomen area indicates a greater risk.
Family history: The risk of type 2 diabetes increases if either of your parents is diabetic.
Age: As we get older, especially after 45 years of age we are at the risk of developing diabetes.
Blood lipid levels: High levels of cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides also increases the risk.
PCOS: Having irregular menstrual periods, excess hair growth, and obesity, all related to PCOS increases the risk of diabetes.
High Blood Pressure: Having high blood pressure can cause or aggravate diabetes.
Pacific Islanders: Studies suggest that the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community is at particular risk of developing diabetes.
This is due to factors like being overweight and obese, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking.
The common blood sugar levels of a person are as follows:
- before taking a meal: 70 to 130mg/100ml
- a meal: less than 180mg/100ml
- before exercise (if taking insulin): 100mg/100ml
- bedtime: 100 to 140mg/100ml
- fasting: less than 100mg/100ml
If you notice a drop in blood sugar levels you should consult the doctor.
The following diagnostic tests are done by the doctor to diagnose the type of diabetes.
These are as follows:
Random Blood Sugar Test
If a person has 200mg/dL or higher levels of insulin in the blood, then this shows the symptoms of diabetes.
Fasting Blood Sugar Test
A blood sample is taken after an overnight fast. If the results are as follows, you might be diabetic.
- Less than 100mg/dL, is considered normal
- 100 to 125mg/dL is considered pre-diabetic.
- 126mg/dL or higher is considered diabetic.
Screening in all adults of age 45 or older and the following groups:
- people younger than 45 who are overweight
- women who had gestational diabetes
- diagnosis of pre-diabetes in people
- children who have a family history of diabetes
The effective treatment of diabetes is as follows:
By including food rich in fibers, carbohydrates, fruits and veggies help in keeping the blood glucose level steady.
Eating at regular intervals, usually after two or three hours.
Aerobic activity and exercise help to control blood glucose.
Avoiding refined carbohydrates, sweets, and animal fats to maintain a healthy weight.
With the above-mentioned precautions, your doctor may prescribe one of the following medications to keep type 2 diabetes under control.
- metformin: it lowers your blood sugar level and improves insulin response.
- Sulfonylureas: this helps your body to make more insulin.
- meglitinides: This medication stimulates your pancreas to make more insulin.
- thiazolidinediones: this makes your body more sensitive to insulin.
- Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2(SGLT-2): this prevents the kidney from reabsorbing the glucose and sending it to the urine.
However, each of these medications can cause side effects like blood pressure or cholesterol. Therefore, often doctors prescribe a combination of medications to treat diabetes.
Diet and Diabetes Care
Diet is an important tool to keep blood sugar levels steady. It should follow the following key points for diabetes care:
- eat after regular intervals
- do not overeat
- check the nutrient level or food labels
- choose food that is high in nutrients and low in empty calories
The following foods and beverages should be avoided:
- salty food
- fried items
- processed meat
- saturated or trans fat
- sugary drinks
- high fat dietary products
- white rice
The following food items should be added to the meal:
- whole fruits
- non-starchy veggies (asparagus, onions, spinach, turnips, etc)
- whole grains such as oats
- sweet potatoes
- heart-healthy omega 3 fatty acids like tuna, salmon, sardines
Maintaining the blood sugar level can also be done by increasing physical activity. Exercise is important for losing weight.
Therefore, choose an aerobic exercise like yoga, swimming, or running by consulting your doctor. A time of 30 minutes is usually advised for aerobic exercises to maintain blood sugar levels.
Resistance exercise increases your strength, balance and ability to perform better on daily basis. Hence, with the help of your doctor and trainer, you can devise a plan.
Therefore, limit inactivity by exercising your liking.
People who have a family history of diabetes can take measures to prevent or delay the development of this type of diabetes.
You can take the following steps:
Lose Excess weight and keep it off as it can help prevent or delay diabetes. Increase your physical activity, eat healthy foods with less fat.
Moreover, you can ask your health care professional about the changes you can make in your lifestyle to prevent or delay this type of diabetes.
Maintaining a healthy weight can prevent us from many problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.
With taking a proper and healthy diet one should do exercise at least 5 times a week as it helps in maintaining blood sugar levels.
In case you have a family history of diabetes, then you should monitor your blood sugar levels daily, take a proper diet, and avoid starchy food and excess carbohydrates.
If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, then you should take a proper meal after regular intervals and increase your physical activity to maintain your blood sugar levels.