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What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

Views: 69     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2024-03-07      Origin: Site


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Type 2 diabetes, a form of diabetes mellitus, is likely one of the better-known chronic diseases in the world — and it makes sense that this would be the case. Data suggests in the United States alone, 37.3 million people, or 11.3 percent of the U.S. population, have diabetes, and the majority of these people have type 2.

Among those individuals with diabetes, 8.5 million don't even know they have it, and an increasing number of young people are being diagnosed with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

One study revealed that an earlier diabetes diagnosis may increase the risk of health complications, including heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Whether you've been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have a family history of the disease, this condition and the risk for health complications that may come with it can be scary. And with the required diet and lifestyle changes, there's no question that this diagnosis can be a challenging one to reckon with.

But living with type 2 diabetes doesn’t have to be devastating. In fact, when you're educated about the disease — such as understanding how insulin resistance develops and how to mitigate it, knowing how to spot the signs of diabetes, and learning what to eat — you can tap into the resources you need to lead a happy, healthy life.

Indeed, some research suggests you may even be able to put type 2 diabetes in remission by making adjustments to your diet and lifestyle. Among the exciting advancements is the use of the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet as a therapeutic approach to manage type 2 diabetes, one review notes.

Furthermore, there’s increasing evidence that one tactic — bariatric surgery — could reverse type 2 diabetes entirely.

In this article, delve into this information and so much more. Sit back, read on, and get ready to take charge of type 2 diabetes.

Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

During the early stages of the disease, type 2 diabetes often doesn’t present any symptoms at all, according to previous research. Still, you should be aware of the symptoms and early warning signs, such as the following:

Frequent urination and extreme thirst

Sudden or unexpected weight loss

Increased hunger

Blurry vision

Dark, velvety patches of skin (called acanthosis nigricans)


Wounds that won’t heal

If you have one or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes and notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to call your doctor, as you may have type 2 diabetes.

Causes and Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers don't know what causes type 2 diabetes, but they believe several factors are at play. Those factors include genetics and lifestyle.

At the root of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance, and before you receive a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, you may be diagnosed with prediabetes.

Insulin Resistance

Type 2 diabetes is marked by high blood sugar that your body can’t bring down on its own. High blood sugar is called hyperglycemia; hypoglycemia is low blood sugar.

Insulin — the hormone that allows your body to regulate sugar in the blood — is made in your pancreas. Essentially, insulin resistance is a state in which the body’s cells do not use insulin efficiently. As a result, it takes more insulin than normal to transport blood sugar (glucose) into cells, to be used immediately for fuel or stored for later use. A drop in efficiency in getting glucose to cells creates a problem for cell function; glucose is normally the body’s quickest and most readily available source of energy.

Insulin resistance, the agency points out, doesn’t develop immediately, and often, people with the condition don’t show symptoms — which may make getting a diagnosis tougher.[8]

As the body becomes more and more insulin resistant, the pancreas responds by releasing an increasing amount of insulin. This higher-than-normal level of insulin in the bloodstream is called hyperinsulinemia.


Insulin resistance sends your pancreas into overdrive, and while it may be able to keep up with the body’s increased demand for insulin for a while, there is a limit to insulin production capacity, and eventually your blood sugars will elevate — leading to prediabetes, the precursor of type 2 diabetes, or type 2 diabetes itself.

A prediabetes diagnosis doesn’t mean you’ll definitely develop type 2 diabetes. Catching the diagnosis quickly and then changing your diet and lifestyle can help prevent your health from worsening.

Prediabetes and type 2 diabetes are some of the most prevalent diseases in the world — altogether affecting more than 100 million Americans, according to the CDC. Nonetheless, researchers still aren’t completely sure which genes cause insulin resistance.

Type 2 Diabetes Risk Factors

As mentioned, type 2 diabetes is a multifactorial disease. That means you can’t just stop eating sugar or start exercising to avoid developing this health condition.

Here are some of the factors that may affect your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Obesity Being obese or overweight puts you at significant risk of type 2 diabetes. Body mass index (BMI) is a way of measuring whether you are obese or overweight.

Poor eating habits Too much of the wrong kinds of foods can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that eating a diet that's high in calorie-dense processed foods and beverages, and low in whole, nutrient-rich foods, can significantly increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. Foods and drinks to limit include white bread, chips, cookies, cake, soda, and fruit juice. Foods and drinks to prioritize include fruits, veggies, whole grains, water, and tea.

Too much TV time Watching too much TV (and sitting too much in general) may increase your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other ailments.

Not enough exercise Just as body fat interacts with insulin and other hormones to affect diabetes development, so does muscle. Lean muscle mass, which can be increased through cardiovascular exercise and strength training, plays a role in protecting the body against insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Sleep habits Sleep disturbances can affect the body’s balance of insulin and blood sugar by increasing the demand on the pancreas. Over time, this can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) By some estimates, a woman diagnosed with PCOS — a hormone imbalance disorder — has a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes than her peers without PCOS. Insulin resistance and obesity are common denominators of these health conditions.

Being over age 45 The older you get, the more likely you are to develop type 2 diabetes. But in recent years, an increasing number of children and teens have been diagnosed with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.