An Overview of Type 2 Diabetes

08 Sep
2014
By Max Jones

Diabetes is regarded as a group of diseases in which blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high. It is referred by doctors as diabetes mellitus. This disease mainly happens if pancreas does not produce enough insulin or the cells of the body do not respond properly to the insulin produced. An estimated 382 million people suffer from this deadly disease worldwide. Out of the previously mentioned figures, about 1.5 million deaths occur worldwide due to diabetes. There are two types of diabetes, which include Type1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Type1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, which accounts to only 5% of people with diabetes. In this type of diabetes, the body of the person is not able to produce enough insulin. Insulin is a hormone which is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. If untreated, this type may also cause major problems and can affect blood vessels, eyes, and kidneys.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form and is affecting 90% to 95% of 26 million Americans. This type of diabetes is very dangerous and often turns fatal if not treated properly. It is also a fact that about one out of three people with type 2 diabetes do not know that they have it. Moreover, obesity and lack of physical activity are the two most common causes of this form of diabetes.

People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin but their bodies do not utilize it properly. This condition leads to insulin resistance, which means there isn’t enough insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be. So, this leads to the rise in glucose levels in the blood instead of going into cells and cause the body’s cells to function improperly. Increased glucose or blood sugar levels raises the risk for heart diseases, loss of vision, nerve and organ damage, and other serious conditions too.

What are the symptoms and causes of type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes is a very serious problem and it is a fact that the person with diabetes has to live with it because it can’t be cured. People with type 2 diabetes don’t know initially that he is suffering from diabetes and when symptoms appear. The first symptom is an increase in thirst, which is accompanied by additional problems like frequent urination, dry mouth, increased appetite, and unusual weight loss. Moreover, people may also suffer additional symptoms like headaches, blurred vision, and fatigue due to the abnormality in their sugar levels. Other symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

Type 2 Diabetes

  • Slow-healing of cuts or sores
  • Itching especially around the vaginal or groin area
  • Recent weight gain
  • Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
  • Decreased vision
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Sexual dysfunction, such as erectile dysfunction in men

 

There are various factors that accounts to diabetes, these include:

  • Age – Age here plays an important role in developing the type 2 diabetes because as people age they tend to gain weight and exercise less.
  • Genetics – If you already have a family history of diabetes, then you are very much at risk of developing the diabetes. Moreover, if you have a close relative including brother or sister, who has the condition, then you are prone to this disease.
  • Weight – People are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they overweight or obese with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more. Overweight people are also at risk of developing a number of other serious conditions like coronary heart disease, strokes and some types of cancer.
  • Ethnicity – People of Chinese, South Asian, African-Caribbean and black African ethnicity are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes condition is up to six times more common in South Asian communities than in the general UK population.

Tricks to control type 2 diabetes:

It is a fact that there’s no cure for diabetes, so lifestyle changes aim to keep your blood glucose levels as normal as possible and to control your symptoms. In relation to treating type 2 diabetes, the first thing that hits the mind is watching diet, controlling weight and physical activities. These are mentioned below:

  • Healthy eating – Managing your diet to control the levels of sugar is very important in the first-line treatment. After diagnosing you, your doctor or general physician will provide you details or list in a written form that what you should eat to level you blood glucose levels. Foods that you should eat include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you crave for sugary products such as sweets or chocolates, then you can have sugar-free chocolates and sweets.

Healthy eating

  • Lose weight and exercise regularly – Lose weight if you are overweight because losing weight will help in reducing your blood glucose levels. Moreover, in order to reduce your blood sugar levels, you should do a minimum of 30 minutes brisk walk. Cycling, swimming, and jogging are ideal to reduce the levels of blood glucose levels and also help in reducing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Always remember to check your blood sugar levels before any activity. You may need to have a snack before exercising to help prevent low blood sugar if you take diabetes medications that lower your blood sugar.

Medications for type 2 diabetes:

Medication is very important in managing the blood sugar levels. People should keep in their mind that proper medications not only solve the sugar problem alone. To make it effective you have to keep a watch on your diet and have to participate in physical activities too. Basically, the decision about which medications need to be taken totally depends on various factors, including your blood sugar levels and other health problems you may have. Your doctor may recommend you the following mentioned medications such as:

  • Metformin – This medicine is the first preference of the doctors or other physicians for the persons who are suffering from type 2 diabetes. Metformin works by reducing the amount of glucose that liver releases into the bloodstream. This medicine works by improving the sensitivity of body tissues to insulin. Some of the possible side effects of Metformin is nausea and diarrhoea.
  • Sulfonylureas – This medication type is very effective and also helps your body to secrete more insulin. Some of the medications in this class include Glyburide, Glipizide, and Glimepiride. Problems of low blood sugar levels and weight gain are some of the possible side effects of taking Sulfonylureas.
  • Meglitinides – These work same as Sulfonylureas by encouraging the body to secrete more insulin. Meglitinides work faster than Sulfonylureas, and they also don’t stay active in the body for as long. Medications like Repaglinide and Nateglinide fall in this category. These are effective but they also have a risk of causing low blood sugar and possible weight gain.
  • Insulin therapy – Severe conditions of type 2 diabetes need insulin therapy. You all know that in the past, insulin therapy was regarded as last resort, but today it’s often prescribed sooner. People can take insulin by mouth or by injection, but the most preferable option is by injecting it. For injecting the insulin in the body, you just need to have a needle or a syringe or an insulin pen which is a device that looks similar to an ink pen, except the cartridge is filled with insulin. These help the type 2 diabetes patients in lowering their sugar levels.

Always discuss the pros and cons of different drugs with your doctor. After considering many factors and health condition, he will suggest you what to do or what not. Ultimately it’s your life and it should be your decision that which medication and lifestyle changes are best for you after considering many factors.

Create more awareness on diabetes by sharing this article on social pages. Also, in case you have any health questions, do post comments.

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Max Jones

A compulsive reader and a writer with a diploma in nutrition and diet. In my free time I love to explore my city while I promote pedal-biking.

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