What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Type 2 Diabetes is a long-term medical condition in which the body is unable to effectively utilize insulin. A high level of glucose circulates in the bloodstream, ultimately affecting the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems. This medical condition is most common in middle-aged and elderly individuals and was formerly referred to as Adult-onset Diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus. The prevalence of childhood obesity, however, makes type 2 diabetes also a threat to children and adolescents. Several approaches are available for managing this disease, including lifestyle changes, medications, and regulated insulin administration, as well as regular visits to the concerned doctor.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic (slow-progressing) medical condition. The symptoms of this condition can be so subtle that one may not even be aware of them. Some of the most common signs & symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Being thirsty all-day
- Feeling hungry
- Blurred Vision
- Fatigue/feeling worn out
- Peeing a lot
- Nerve twitching or numbness in the hands or feet
- Wounds that won’t heal
- Yeast infections that are recurrent.
- Sudden weight loss
- Getting frequent infections
If an individual has dark spots on their neck or under the arms, it’s a good idea to go to the doctor. These dark spots are known as acanthosis nigricans, and they can be a sign that the body is becoming more resistant to insulin.
Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is usually the result of a combination of factors. These factors may include:
- Genetics – Research has identified various strands of DNA that influence the production of insulin by the human body.
- Metabolic Syndrome – It is a type of medical condition in which individuals with insulin resistance develop various health issues, such as elevated blood sugar levels, elevated blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and elevated triglyceride levels.
- Weight – Insulin resistance is caused by excessive body weight or obesity.
- Beta Cell Damage – It occurs when the cells responsible for the production of insulin send out insulin at an inappropriate time, resulting in a decrease in blood sugar levels. Elevated blood sugar levels can also cause damage to beta cells.
- Too Much Glucose from the Liver – When our blood sugar is too low, our liver starts making and sending out glucose. When we eat, our blood sugar levels go up, and our liver slows down and stores the glucose for later. However, for some people, their liver doesn’t slow down and keeps making sugar.
- Bad Communication Between Cells – Diabetes is caused by poor cell-to-cell communication. In some cases, cells may miscommunicate or misplace signals. When these issues interfere with the production and use of insulin or glucose in the body, diabetes can result.
The risk of having type 2 diabetes may be increased due to a variety of factors, including:
- Aging increases the risk of developing type two diabetes, particularly after the age of 35.
- Prediabetes is a medical state of elevated blood sugar levels that does not meet the criteria for diabetes. But, if left untreated, prediabetes can progress into type 2 diabetes.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), a medical condition that causes irregular menstrual cycles, excessive hair growth, and obesity, increases the risk of diabetes.
- Obesity is the primary risk factor for diabetes.
- The fact that this fat is stored primarily on the belly rather than on the hips or thighs suggests a higher risk.
- The lower the level of activity in your daily routine, the greater the risk. Exercise helps in weight regulation, utilizes glucose as energy, and increases insulin sensitivity in cells.
- Low HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) and high triglyceride levels.
- The risk of type two diabetes is increased by having a parent or sibling with type 2 diabetes.
- Individuals with gestational diabetes during pregnancy are more likely to be at risk of Diabetes Mellitus type 2.
Diagnosis Procedure for Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes mellitus can be diagnosed through blood tests conducted by a physician. These tests may include:
- A1c – This is the average percentage of your blood sugar level over the last two or three months.
- Fasting Plasma Glucose – This test is also referred to as a fasting blood glucose test. It is conducted on an empty stomach, and an individual is not permitted to consume any food or beverages for a period of eight hours prior to the test.
- Oral Glucose Tolerance Test – This test measures blood glucose levels prior to and two hours after consumption of sugary beverages to evaluate the functioning of the blood sugar system.
Treatment Methods for Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes treatment involves a combination of lifestyle modifications and medications.
- There is no single approach to managing diabetes mellitus type 2. Registered dietitians and diabetologists can provide guidance on carbohydrates and create a meal plan that can be sustained.
- Engage in physical activities for 30 to 60 minutes each day. It can include walking, cycling, swimming, or any other activity that increases heart rate.
- Eliminating extra weight is a great way to start, but it’s not enough to just lose 5% of your weight. You should aim for a minimum of 7% and keep it off.
In addition to diet and exercise, some people take medication to control diabetes. Your healthcare provider may prescribe oral diabetes medications. One can also use insulin to help their body use sugar more effectively. Combination therapy is when a patient takes multiple medications to manage type two diabetes. The patient and physician should work together to determine the best combination for the patient.
Surgery for Type 2 Diabetes
If you have type-2 diabetes, weight loss surgery can be a great way to help you lose weight. This type of surgery limits how much food you can eat or how much nutrients your body can absorb. There are different weight loss surgeries available, so it’s important to talk to your doctor about which one is right for you.
How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?
It is possible to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by adhering to a healthy lifestyle. It includes maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly:
- Choose foods that are low in fat, high in calories, and fiber. Concentrate on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate to high-intensity aerobic exercise a week, such as walking, biking, running, or swimming.
- Losing a moderate amount of body weight and maintaining it may impede the progression of prediabetes into type 2 diabetes. For individuals with prediabetes, a reduction of 7-10% of body weight may be beneficial in reducing the risk of developing diabetes.
- Sitting for an extended time increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. It is recommended to stand or move for at least 30 minutes every 30 minutes.
Living with Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus type 2 is a chronic medical condition that requires long-term management. Diabetes management is a pretty complex process requiring an individual to completely understand “what is type two diabetes?”, adopt appropriate lifestyle habits, monitor blood sugar levels on a regular basis, and attend regular medical appointments and treatments. However, the efforts made can have a significant impact on overall health & quality of life. Untreated Type-2 diabetes can cause a variety of life-threatening conditions.
At Wockhardt Hospitals, a dedicated team of specialists works together to provide the best care possible to help turn your diabetes around and get on the path to remission. These specialists will provide highly personalized care and treatment to patients, assist them in managing their condition over a period of time, and advise them on how to prevent the re-occurrence of type 2 diabetes and protect their future health.