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Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition caused by high blood sugar (sugar). Blood sugar comes from the food you eat and is considered the human body’s main source of energy. Your body creates insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas, to help transport glucose from the food you eat into your cells so that it can be used for energy. But in people with type 2 diabetes, the body cannot use insulin well. This can cause your blood sugar levels to rise, leading to serious health complications.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all diabetes cases.

Type 2 diabetes as a major consequence of obesity

The number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese.

A person is considered overweight when their body mass index (BMI) is over 25 and obese when their BMI is over 30. For example, currently more than 140 million adults and 14 million children in the United States have obesity.

The main symptom of obesity is excess body fat, which increases the level of fatty acids in the blood. As these fats accumulate in the liver, the function of the liver gradually deteriorates, and one of the main functions of the liver is the production and storage of glucose.

Obesity triggers the onset of insulin resistance, which contributes to the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors for obesity and being overweight include:

  • Excessive calorie consumption
  • Consuming excess saturated fat and trans fat
  • Eating processed or sugary foods and drinks
  • Absence of exercise

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the body produces too little or no insulin or becomes resistant to insulin.

Insulin has the function of transporting glucose from the blood to your vital tissues and if your body does not produce or use insulin properly, glucose cannot reach your cells to be used for energy.

Diabetes-induced high blood glucose levels can damage nerves, blood vessels and many vital organs. Men and women can experience many symptoms, including:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Burnout
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and/or feet
  • Irritability
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow wound healing
  • Nausea
  • Skin infections
  • Darkening of the skin in wrinkled areas of the body (acanthosis nigricans)
  • Fruity, sweet or acetone-like breath odor

How does type 2 diabetes develop?

Type 2 diabetes typically starts with insulin resistance, a condition in which muscle, liver and fat cells cannot use insulin efficiently. As a result, the body needs more insulin to get glucose into the cells, and over time the pancreas cannot keep up. Being overweight and leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to insulin resistance.

What factors increase the risk of type 2 diabetes?

While some people are predisposed to type 2 diabetes because of their genetics, lifestyle plays a dominant role in the onset of the disease.

In short, having a genetic predisposition for type 2 diabetes does not mean you will get it. Diet and exercise choices can determine whether you ultimately develop the disease.

The number one risk factor for type 2 diabetes is being overweight or obese. Obesity triggers the onset of insulin resistance, which contributes to the onset of type 2 diabetes.

For reasons that are not entirely clear, studies have shown that lack of sleep is associated with a significant increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Lack of sleep is thought to increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol. While cortisol can help keep you awake, too much can reduce both insulin production and the body’s response to insulin.

Therefore, a chronic lack of sleep can be considered a contributing risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

As we age, the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes increases. This is thought to be due to age-related changes that reduce the ability of the pancreas to produce and secrete insulin.

Having family members with type 2 diabetes increases your risk of type 2 diabetes. Some research has shown that having a mother or father with type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of the disease by up to three times. However, having family members with diabetes does not guarantee that you will develop diabetes.

Diabetes Control

Type 2 diabetes is a disease that can affect all people, regardless of age. Early signs of type 2 diabetes can be missed, so those affected may not immediately realize they have the condition. An estimated one in three people in the early stages of type 2 diabetes do not realize they have diabetes.

Diabetes negatively affects the body’s ability to use carbohydrates for energy, leading to high blood sugar levels. Diabetes-induced high blood sugar levels are a factor that can increase the risk of developing serious health problems in the human body.

In the long term, the possible consequences of untreated high blood sugar include:

  • Nerve problems
  • Loss of vision
  • Joint deformities
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetic coma (life-threatening)

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