Type 2 Diabetes: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes and affects around 70 million people worldwide. It is caused by a lack of insulin’s impact on the cells of the human body. Therefore, not enough sugar is able to transfer from the blood into the tissue, which results in an increased level of sugar in the blood and, consequently, an insufficient amount of energy in the cells.
Type 2 diabetes was once thought to be largely a condition that afflicted the elderly. As a result, it was frequently referred to as “adult diabetes.” Meanwhile, there are significant risk factors related to this disease (such as being extremely overweight or lacking in physical activity), which generally occur at a younger age. This is why type 2 diabetes is becoming more common among young adults and even toddlers. As a result, the phrase “adult diabetes” has lost its meaning.
Obesity and advanced age are common among persons with type 2 diabetes. For a long period, diabetes might go undiagnosed (asymptomatic course). It might also cause vague symptoms like fatigue, poor concentration, itching, or dry skin. Furthermore, people with unusually high blood sugar levels are more prone to infections of the skin and mucous membranes as well as infections of the urinary system.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can appear if it has already caused secondary conditions. For example, in the event of diabetes-related retinal degeneration, visual abnormalities can progress to blindness (diabetic retinopathy). Ulcers and non-healing lesions on the foot or lower leg might form if blood sugar levels are consistently high (diabetic foot).
Risk factors around type 2 Diabetes
Insulin is crucial in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. The pancreas’ beta cells create this hormone, which is then released into the bloodstream as needed. It guarantees that glucose in the blood reaches the cells in the body that require it for energy production.
When it comes to type 2 diabetes, the pancreas normally generates enough insulin at first. However, it is growing increasingly insensitive to bodily cells (for example, those in the liver and muscles). The number of insulin binding sites on cell surfaces reduces. The amount of insulin that the body produces fails to export the sugar in the blood to the cells and as a result of this developing insulin resistance. There is a deficiency in insulin.
The body tries to compensate for this by boosting insulin synthesis in the pancreas’ beta cells. This continual overflow can tire the pancreas to the point where insulin output diminishes in the late stages of the disease. The result is an absolute insulin deficit that can only be treated with insulin injections.
Experts now know a number of risk factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes by promoting the disease mechanism described below. Risk factors are divided into two categories: those that can be influenced and those that cannot. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is currently thought to be caused by a combination of causes rather than a single factor.
Those who have been affected have a significant impact on risk variables that can be influenced. Type 2 diabetes can be avoided if these risks are minimized. People who are diabetic should try to avoid these risk factors if at all possible. Complications and subsequent disorders can often be avoided this way.
Obesity: The majority of type 2 diabetics are overweight or obese (obese). Obesity may be the decisive trigger, even if it is not the main cause of the disease: fat cells (adipocytes) release numerous messenger molecules (hormones, inflammatory substances) into the blood, reducing the cells’ sensitivity to insulin over time. Because they produce a huge number of such messenger chemicals, abdominal fat cells appear to be particularly hazardous. Increased waist circumference (men: > 94 centimeters; women: > 80 centimeters) is thus especially detrimental to sugar metabolism.
A sedentary lifestyle has a detrimental impact on energy balance: when you move, you burn the energy you obtained from your food. Without this movement, an excess of calories will be consumed with the same amount of food. This is shown in elevated blood sugar levels and fat tissue accumulation.
The metabolic syndrome is characterized by abdominal obesity (abdominal obesity), elevated blood lipid levels (dyslipoproteinemia), high blood pressure (hypertension), and a sugar metabolism issue (insulin resistance). It is thought to be a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes as well as other illnesses like heart attacks and strokes.
Test for Diabetes
The diagnosis of diabetes relies heavily on the analysis of a blood sample collected on an empty stomach. In this sample, fasting blood sugar is tested. In addition, the HbA1c level in the blood is measured. It displays the average blood sugar level for the previous two to three months.
A urine sample’s sugar level is also determined: When blood sugar levels are extremely high, the body attempts to excrete the excess sugar through the kidneys.
The doctor may administer an oral glucose tolerance test to you in order to more precisely analyze the efficiency of your sugar metabolism (oGTT).
The goal of type 2 diabetes treatment is to bring increased blood sugar levels down to a healthy level permanently. This is the only way to avoid serious type 2 diabetes complications.
The HbA1c number is tested at regular intervals to monitor the efficacy of the medication. It is usually less than 6.0 percent in non-diabetics. If type 2 diabetes patients are not managed, it is often substantially higher. During the course of treatment, you should aim for an HbA1c goal value of 6.5 to 7.5 percent. A higher goal number may be justified for older adults who do not yet have typical diabetic symptoms.
In general, how much the blood sugar level should be lowered in specific situations is determined by the patient’s age and general health, as well as any possible concomitant conditions.
Treatment of such comorbidities as part of a successful type 2 diabetes treatment plan. In this method, the disease’s progression can be impacted in a beneficial way.
The foundation of type 2 diabetes treatment is a change in lifestyle, including a change in food, increased exercise, weight loss, and quitting smoking. For some individuals, gaining a better understanding of their illness and making lifestyle adjustments is enough to bring their blood sugar levels down. If this does not work, the doctor may recommend medicine, such as oral blood sugar-lowering treatments (oral antidiabetic drugs) and/or insulin injections.
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