Diabetes: Type 2 Diabetes and You

Diabetes Part 2: What is Type 2 Diabetes?
Hey, thanks for coming back for Type 2 diabetes! As promised we will take a look at Type 2 Diabetes, it's causes, who is at risk and the role of insulin in this type of Diabetes. This type of Diabetes is known as the non-insulin-dependent diabetes. It is the most common form of diabetes and affects up to 95% of the 26 million Americans that have diabetes. Can you imagine that 26 millions Americans are afflicted with this disease. Sounds like we need to find a cure! Diabetes is a very expensive disease for the Americans afflicted and insurance companies. To find a cure it is equally if not more expensive as well. 

Do You Know What Type 2 Diabetes is?
Since we looked at Type 1 Diabetes in part 1, you will easily understand what Type 2 is because it's the opposite in that insulin is produced. There is either a problem with the pancreas not making enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin as it should. This is called insulin resistance. Whenever there isn't enough insulin or the insulin produced isn't used as it should be, glucose (sugar) can't get into the body's cells. Therefore, the glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells. Now that just means the body's cells are not able to function properly. There are other problems related to the buildup of glucose in the blood which includes:

Body Damage: Again as in Type 1 the body is damaged overtime, the high glucose levels in the blood can damage the nerves, small blood vessels of eyes, kidneys, and the heart which lead to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries which has been a cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Dehydration: As it seems dehydration is one problem that occurs in both types. We already know that the buildup of sugar in the blood can cause us to urinate more often. The loss of fluids in the body is what causes the dehydration.
Diabetic Coma: When someone with Type 2 becomes very ill from the disease, they become severely dehydrated. It's difficult to replace the fluids lost and can develop this life-threatening complication.

Take the Diabetes Quiz!

Who Gets Type 2 Diabetes?

Anyone can get type 2 diabetes. However those at highest risk for the disease are those who are over 45, obese or overweight, have had gestational diabetes, family history of the disease, don't  exercise, have low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides, high blood pressure and are of certain racial or ethnic groups. 

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 Diabetes is the most common of the 2 types of diabetes and is least understood. It is believed to be caused by many things. It has been found to run in families, but it's not understood how it's inherited. Diabetes is a number of diseases that involve problems with the hormone insulin. Two of the most common causes of this form of diabetes is obesity and lack of exercise. According to the CDC these 2 causes account for almost 95% of diabetes cases in the United States. It doesn't really surprise me because I think as a country we don't focus enough on what & how much we eat! 

Take the Quiz: Are You Controlling Your Diabetes?

Diabetes happens when one of the following occurs when the pancreas doesn't produce or enough insulin. When the body doesn't respond or utilizes the insulin properly, this condition is called "insulin resistant". Again as in Type 1, our body won't function properly when the cells aren't getting the glucose they need. The glucose is just building up in the bloodstream.

What is the Importance of Insulin in the Cause of Type 2 Diabetes?

We discussed the role of the insulin hormone in Type 1 Diabetes. We will revisit the importance of insulin. The insulin has to be transported into the millions of cells in the body and convert the insulin to energy. Our body also uses the food we eat for energy as well. When we eat or drink, most of the food is broken down into a simple form of sugar called "glucose." Glucose is transported through the bloodstream to these cells where it can be used to provide the energy the body needs to function.

The insulin and other hormones keep a tight watch on the glucose in the bloodstream. Amazing but when the glucose gets to a certain level in our bloodstream, the pancreas wakes up to release more insulin so that more can be transported into the cells. This will in turn cause the glucose in the bloodstream to drop. In order for the glucose levels to stay at a certain level and not drop too low, the body will send a signal for us to eat. Glucose is also released from the Liver which stores some glucose.To keep blood glucose levels from getting too low (hypoglycemia), the body signals you to eat and releases some glucose from the stores kept in the liver; it also signals the body to lower the amount of insulin being released.

Diabetes is having a blood glucose level of greater than or equal to 126 milligrams per deciliter after not eating anything overnight (fasting), or by having a non-fasting glucose level greater than or equal to 200 milligrams per deciliter along with symptoms of diabetes, tolerance test, or an A1C greater than or equal to 6.5%. In order to have a diagnosis of Diabetes you must have met at least two of these test criteria, or by repeating one of the tests on a different day.

For more information about Type 2 Diabetes check out the article here! Hey, come by again on Saturday, June 7th for a look at what Moms of Type 2 Diabetes children should know. Find out about the symptoms, diagnosis, and the treatment available for Type 2 Diabetes in childhood. Get self-care tips for prevention which is extremely important when taking control of this disease that strikes so many people of all ages. 

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