About the disease
Diabetes mellitus type 2 is the most common type of diabetes and is more common in people over 45 years of age. It develops in people with insulin resistance, meaning that the cells of their body are unable to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that is required for turning glucose from the food we eat into energy, and is produced by the pancreas.
Diabetes mellitus type 2 develops when the pancreas starts to produce more insulin than is required because glucose is not being absorbed into the cells properly. As a result, sugar starts to build up in the blood.
WebMD reports that there are 27 million people with diabetes mellitus type 2 in the USA alone. Although the exact cause of diabetes had not been identified, there are many factors which can lead to the development of this condition. Having a genetic predisposition is considered to be one of the factors, along with obesity and being generally overweight. People with abdominal obesity are in the highest risk group. In fact, obesity is one of the reasons why diabetes mellitus type 2 can even develop in children. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly are the best ways to prevent diabetes. In fact, losing just 10% of initial excessive weight lowers the risk of developing diabetes in the future by 50%, which clearly demonstrates how much being overweight damages the functioning of internal organs.
People who suffer from high blood pressure or have high cholesterol levels are in the risk group as well. This can cause the communication between cells and the pancreas to go wrong, which can lead to other organs becoming damaged.
In some cases, an individual may not even know they have diabetes mellitus type 2, as the symptoms may be very mild for a long time. According to WebMD, this applies to around 8 million people.
- Excessive thirstiness
- Frequent urination
- Tingling in hands/feet
- Numbness in hands/feet
- Cuts/bruising take longer to heal
- During a general examination, the doctor will ask the patient if they have experienced the symptoms listed above.
- The doctor will ask the patient whether any of their relatives have diabetes.
- A blood test measures the glucose levels in the blood. This may be repeated several times over a few weeks to see if the patient’s glucose levels fluctuate.
- A glucose tolerance test measures how well the patient’s body handles sugar. The patient’s glucose levels are measured before and after drinking a sweet drink. If their glucose levels go up drastically, it is a clear indication of diabetes mellitus type 2.
- Conservative treatment such as medications and insulin therapy can be effective in controlling the patient’s glucose levels.
- Maintaining a healthy diet, and doing regular exercise, is not only vital for preventing diabetes, but also for keeping it in check.
- Many people do not need to take medications for diabetes if they drastically change their lifestyle to a healthy one.
- Controlling blood sugar is important in keeping diabetes at bay. It can also help the patient and their doctor know if the treatment plan needs to be changed at any time.
- Medications that control blood pressure can be prescribed as well if a person has high blood pressure.
- Checking all other organs, especially the eyes, heart, liver and kidneys, are important to avoid complications.
- Avoiding injuries is also important, because the healing process is longer in people with diabetes.