Also known as: Non-Insulin-Dependent Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic medical condition and the most
common type of diabetes that affects the way your body processes insulin. Insulin
is a hormone produced by pancreas that your body needs to help glucose get from
your blood into your body’s cells to produce energy. Glucose is sugar that your
body gets from the food you eat.
If you have type 2 diabetes, your pancreas makes insulin,
but the cells in your body are unable to absorb it properly, which causes the
pancreas to produce more insulin. Eventually, the ability of your pancreas to
produce insulin decreases. Because of that, your body cells do not get enough
glucose and consequently, do not receive a sufficient amount of energy required
for proper functioning.
Type 2 diabetes was formerly referred to as non-insulin
dependent diabetes or adult-onset diabetes because the disease was mostly
diagnosed in adults and the patients usually did not need insulin injections to
manage their condition. These definitions are now considered inaccurate because
doctors have commonly diagnosed type 2 diabetes in children and insulin is
often required to manage the disease.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to those of type 1
diabetes, but they develop rather slowly and they are often mild enough to be
easily disregarded for years. The symptoms include excessive hunger and thirst,
fatigue, frequent urination, blurred vision, dry mouth, itchy skin, slow
healing wounds, unexplained weight loss, numbness in your hands or feet,
frequent infections, and dark rash around your armpits and neck.
The exact reason why human body stops processing insulin
normally and becomes insulin resistant is unknown, but genes and certain risk
factors may contribute to developing type 2 diabetes. Those risk factors
include having little or no physical activity, being overweight or obese, having
a history of heart disease or stroke, having high blood pressure, being 45
years of age or older, having a high level of triglycerides or a low level of “good”
(HDL) cholesterol, having polycystic ovary syndrome, and having a history of
Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition, which means that
the longer a person has it unattended, the higher the chance that the patient
will be needing insulin over time to manage blood glucose level. That is why
early diagnosis is very important. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed by the
following tests: Fasting blood sugar test that measures how much glucose is in
your plasma and is taken after at least 8 hours of fasting; Random blood sugar
(glucose) test; A1C (glycated hemoglobin) test that measures the average
glucose level over the period of past 2-3 months; and Oral glucose tolerance
test, which is most commonly used during pregnancy.
If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you need to
take it under control to avoid complications because otherwise the disease can
affect all organs of the body. Complications may include cardiovascular
diseases, nerve damage, kidney damage, poor blood circulation to your feet, retinal
damage, fungal or bacterial infections, and sleep apnea.
When it comes to management of type 2 diabetes, the ideal
scenario is to prevent it from happening. Although you cannot do anything about
your age or genetics, a diet that is low on sugar, refined carbohydrates, and
fatty meats, as well as getting regular exercise and implementing proper weight
management strategy, can help you keep your blood sugar level within the healthy
limits and lower your chances of getting the disease.
People with type 2 diabetes should follow the
guideline for type 2 diabetes prevention as well. They also have to closely
monitor their blood sugar by checking it multiple times a day and take diabetes
medications or insulin therapy if they are unable to maintain proper blood
sugar level with just diet and exercise. Besides, type 2 diabetes patients have
to daily check their feet for sores, cuts, blisters, and swelling, have regular
eye checkups, and look after their skin. It is also beneficial for people with
type 2 diabetes to stay informed about advancements in diabetes treatments by
participating in diabetes education programs and work with their doctors,
nutritionists, and pharmacists to come up with the most optimal treatment plan.
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