Overview of type 2 diabetes
Firstly a short explanation of diabetes, insulin and glucose, before we get into type 2 diabetes.
The term diabetes usually refers to diabetes mellitus. There are many other types of diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder of carbohydrate metabolism. Where the
body is unable to utilize insulin correctly or fail to produce insulin
in enough quantities, resulting in high blood glucose levels.
The only way to expel this extra sugar is via the kidneys.
Mellitus from Latin meaning "sweet urine".
Insulin and Glucose
Glucose is the major energy source for the body. Food is broken down
into glucose and other nutrients in the dietary tract, where the glucose
is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Insulin is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells.
In order for the glucose (simple form of sugar) to be utilized by the
body for energy, it needs to gain access to the individual cells, where
it is converted to energy for the cell to function.
Insulin encapsulates the glucose and enters the cells. Insulin can be
compared to a key that opens the door of the cell so that the glucose
Glucose by itself is denied access to the cells, it needs the insulin for the cells to be receptive to it.
When the glucose is not used by the cells it stays in the bloodstream,
resulting in higher than normal blood sugar levels. High blood sugar
levels can cause a number of health problems.
Now for Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes, previously known as adult-onset (untill children started to develop it too) or non-insulin
dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition that affects the way your
body metabolizes glucose, the main source of fuel for your body.
When you have diabetes type 2, the insulin is not so effective in
assisting the glucose for entry into the cells. This is known as insulin
resistance. It could also be that the body does not produce enough
insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level.
Insulin resistance is usually due to a problem with the location on
cells where insulin binds. (insulin receptors) Though less frequently
the problem can be with the chemical makeup of the insulin itself. In
either case, the body's insulin receptors are not so susceptible to
insulin as it should be.
When the glucose is not absorbed by the cells, it builds up in the
bloodstream, resulting in high blood sugar levels. The pancreas
continues to produce insulin as demanded by the high blood sugar, this
continues production of insulin can eventually cause the pancreas to
stop producing insulin.
High circulating levels of insulin can develop, it is called
hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemia increases the risk of cardiovascular
disease and other health problems.
It is thought that
hyperinsulinemia is the trigger that lets the pancreas ignore high blood
sugar levels and halt the production of insulin.
Untreated, the consequences of type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening.
There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but it can be prevented. Or if you
already have diabetes type 2, then it can be managed to minimize the
risk of the health issues caused by the disease.
Starting right now by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.
It is necessary for you to come to terms with the disease and to accept responsibility for your own life.
Your body is the only one you have - For the rest of your life!
It is up to you and you alone to make the decision to take control
and enjoy the best your body has to offer, even if it is different than
those around you.
Yes, your body is your responsibility, the health care team and those around you cannot do it for you, only assist you in the best way that they can.
Cause of Diabetes type 2
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin.
don't fully understand exactly why this happens, although excess weight
and lack of exercise seem to be important factors.
Although the vast majority of individuals with type 2 diabetes are
adults, children are increasingly at risk for the disease due to growing
childhood weight problems and inactive lifestyles.
Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms
Many people might have type 2 diabetes and do not even know it. Their
symptoms could be so mild that it is not noticed. Sometimes the symptoms
are considered as the normal process of growing old.
Type 2 diabetes symptoms may develop very slowly. You can have type 2
diabetes for years and not even know it. Look out for the following
signs and symptoms.
- Increased thirst.
As excess sugar builds up in your bloodstream, fluid is pulled from
the tissues. This may leave you thirsty. As a result, you may drink more
- Increased urination.
The kidneys expel the excessive glucose, but need to dilute it. If the
glucose is not diluted, then you will urinate syrup. The result is you
urinate more than usual.
- Increased hunger.
Not enough insulin to move glucose into your cells will result in your
muscles and organs become energy depleted, this triggers hunger.
- Losing weight without trying.
Your body uses alternate fuels for energy, by breaking down muscle and fat.
Lost calories with glucose going "down the drain" in the urine.
- Having blurry vision.
High blood sugar may result in fluid pulled from the eyes and/or the
lenses of your eyes. Affecting your ability to focus clearly.
- Infections and cuts and bruises that heal slowly.
High blood sugar causes circulatory problems and this affects your ability to heal and your resistance to infections.
When your cells are deprived of glucose, you may become tired.
- Feeling cranky.
When your cells are deprived of glucose, you may become irritable.
- Numbness or tingling of the hands and/or feet.
High blood sugar affects the circulatory system and the tiny blood
vessels (capillaries) that nourishes the nerves. The nerve endings in
the extremities are especially affected.
- Trouble with skin, gum, or bladder infections.
Dry, Itchy skin.
Itchy skin around genitals.
Regular infections, such as thrush
Vaginal yeast infections.
- Dry mouth.
With extra fluids needed by the kidney to dilute the glucose, there may be less saliva available.
- Nausea and occasionally vomiting.
High blood sugar may cause damage to the nerves that control digestion.
- high levels of sugar in the blood when tested.
- high levels of sugar in the urine when tested.
- Areas of darkened skin.
Called acanthosis nigricans, could be a sign of insulin resistance.
Some type 2 diabetics have patches of dark, velvety skin in the folds
and creases of their bodies, generally in the armpits and neck.
- Chest pain or shortness of breath.
This may be a sign of heart or blood vessel problems, which can be caused by diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors
Even though it is not fully understood clearly why some people develop
type 2 diabetes, It is clear that certain factors do increase the risk.
Being overweight or worse obese, is a major risk factor for diabetes type 2.
The more fatty tissue you have, the less the insulin receptors will function correctly.
Physical activity, especially exercise, uses up glucose as energy and makes your cells more receptive to insulin.
Physical activity helps you to control your weight.
Physical activity greatly contributes to a healthy lifestyle.
The less active you are, the more you run the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes.
- Family history.
If a parent or a sibling has type 2 diabetes, the risk of you getting diabetes type 2 increases.
As you get older, the risk of type 2 diabetes increases, most noticeably after age 45.
People are more prone to a sedentary lifestyle and tend to exercise
less, thus losing muscle mass and gaining weight as they age. This could
be the reason why the risk escalates with age.
However, type 2 diabetes is also increasing dramatically among children, adolescents and younger adults.
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher
than normal, but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.
Left untreated, prediabetes often progresses to type 2 diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes.
If you develop diabetes when you are pregnant (gestational diabetes), your risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases.
If you gave birth to a baby weighing more than 4.1kg.(9 lb), then you are also at risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Low birth weight.
People who weighed less than 2.5 kg (5.5 lb) at birth are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
Complications of Diabetes Type 2
Diabetes is sometimes called: "The Invisible disease" So it is very easy to ignore it... DON'T!!!!
In the early stages of diabetes, you might still feel fine and that is
when it is easy to ignore your disease. However, prolonged exposure to
high blood sugar levels will affect many of your major organs, including your heart, kidneys, nerves, blood vessels and eyes.
The long-term complications develop gradually, they can eventually be disabling or even cause pre-mature death.
It is worth repeating many times, controlling your blood sugar levels
can and will help to prevent these serious and potentially
Heart and blood vessel disease.
Diabetes dramatically increases the risk of various cardiovascular problems.
- Angina - Coronary artery disease with chest pain.
- Heart attack,
The risk of stroke more than doubles in the first five years of treatment for type 2 diabetes.
- Atherosclerosis - Narrowing of the arteries.
- High blood pressure.
- About 75% of people who have diabetes die of some type of heart or blood vessel related disease.
Neuropathy - Nerve damage.
- Excess sugar can injure the walls of the capillaries (tiny blood
vessels) that nourishes your nerves, especially in your extremities and
at nerve endings.
This causes one or any combination of the following.
- It usually start at the tips of the fingers or toes and gradually spreads upward.
- Uncontrolled or poorly controlled blood sugar can eventually cause the loss of feeling in the affected limbs.
Once this happens, then it is only a matter of time for amputation to happen, especially the feet.
- Problems caused by damage to the nerves that control digestion
- Men - erectile dysfunction can also be as result of nerve damage.
Damage to feet.
- Poor blood flow to the feet increases the risk of various foot complications.
- Nerve damage can also lead to various foot complications.
- Loss of feeling in the feet results in injuries like blisters and cuts.
- Cuts and blisters can become serious infections if left untreated.
- Can lead to toe, foot or even leg amputation.
Nephropathy - Kidney damage
- The kidneys contain millions of tiny blood vessel clusters that filter waste from your blood.
Too much sugar can damage this delicate filtering system.
- Severe damage can lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Diabetic retinopy - damage caused by diabetes to the blood vessels of the retina.
Potentially leading to blindness.
- Increased risk of other serious vision conditions.
Skin and mouth conditions.
- Diabetes make you more susceptible to skin problems like, fungal and bacterial infections.
- Gum infections can also happen, particularly if there is a history of poor dental hygiene.
Increased risk of osteoporosis due to lower than bone mineral density, that could be caused by diabetes.
Diabetes can also cause hearing impairment.
- The risk of Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia is increased by diabetes type 2.
- The more the blood sugar out of control, the greater the risk appears to be.
Two theories connecting Alzheimer's and diabetes.
- Cardiovascular problems could lead to dementia by causing strokes or blocking blood flow to the brain.
Diabetes can be a great contributor to cardiovascular problems.
- Lack of insulin in the brain cause glucose starved brain cells or too much insulin causes brain damaging inflammation.
Preventing Diabetes Type 2
There are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting
diabetes or reduce your chances of developing complications from
diabetes type 2.
Even small changes can make a difference, and it is never too late to start making healthier choices.
Maintain a healthy weight.
- As your weight increases so does the risk for type 2 diabetes also increases
- The risk is increased even more when most of your body fat is in your belly region.
- When you are overweight, every pound that you lose is a pound of less risk of developing diabetes type 2.
- Getting enough exercise lowers your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Generally be more active, use the stairs instead of the elevator,
park further from the entrance when you go shopping, wherever walk
briskly instead of strolling.
- Blocks of 10 minutes (or longer) of strenuous activity throughout
the day is an easy way to get in the required amount of exercise.
- Aim for at least 3 hours of moderate activity and at least 2 hours of vigorous activity per week.
- For motivation, join walking groups and/or use pedometer that counts steps.
- It is not necessary to join an expensive gym, though there is nothing wrong with it, if you do.
- Anything that raise your heart rate is acceptable.
- Do NOT start any exercise program without first clearing it with
your doctor, if you've been sedentary (couch potato) for a while.
Enjoy the correct food for you.
- Eat only foods that are good for you.
- Healthy eating.
- Eat a balanced diet.(whole grains, lean meat, vegetables and fruit)
- Saturated fats.
- Limit alcohol.
- In order to lose weight, or avoid gaining weight, limit calories.
- Reduce your intake of soft drinks, sugary foods, and junk food.
- Eating smaller meals more often will keep your blood sugar levels more constant.
- Eat 3 meals a day of the same size, at the same time in the day.
- Top up on the meals with a snack half way between meals, adding a late night snack before going to bed.
- Reduce your intake of sugary foods, soft drinks and junk food.
- Sugary foods, red meat, soft drinks and fast food, increases your risk of developing diabetes type 2.
- Whole grains, nuts and vegetables can decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- You may not be a quitter, but you will never be a winner if you do not quit smoking.
- Smoking increases your chance greatly of having severe complications from diabetes.
- All the normal health risks for smoking is doubly applicable if you have diabetes.
- According to Dr. Chris Barnard (surgeon who did the first heart
transplant) it is not difficult to quit smoking, all you need is the
He has seen enough patients who got motivated by a heart attack, to know what he is talking about.
- If your fasting blood sugar levels are in the range from 100 mg/dL to
125 mg/dL, you are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. -
Hypertension (high blood pressure).
- If your blood pressure is higher than 135/80, get tested for diabetes.
- If your blood pressure is greater than 140/90, get treatment.
- If your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels of less
than 35 mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter), then you are at greater risk
of developing complications from type 2 diabetes.
- You are at risk of developing complications if your triglyceride levels are 250 mg/dL or greater.
Though type 2 diabetes can be life-threatening, it is not serious --- if you take it seriously!!.
Take control of your disease and it will not control you. Type 2
diabetes is manageable, it is possible to control the effects of the
All it really takes is for you to decide if you want to or not.
Hopefully I've given enough information here for you to get the right
"motivation" to make that decision.
The disease can be controlled with correct treatment.
So, if you only suspect someone showing signs of the symptoms, have them tested. You could be instrumental in saving a life.
Different types of diabetes
Overview of type 2 diabetes
Please consult the services of your
doctor and/or other members of your health care team
before implementing any of the advice contained on this site.
About Me /
Contact Me /
contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a percentage of any product
or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. You
will pay the same price for all products and services, and your purchase helps
support my ongoing research and work. Thanks for your support!