Type 2 Diabetes
It used to be that Type 2 diabetes was only thought to occur in older adults. Over the last several decades Type 2 diabetes has become a global epidemic, and 90-95% of all people with diabetes worldwide have type 2 diabetes. This is no longer a condition that occurs in the elderly, young adults and sadly now even children and teens are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to lifestyle factors and the increased numbers globally can be attributed in many cases to unhealthy lifestyles as physical activity decreased and traditional diets were replaced with fast foods and convenience foods. People no longer do the amount of exercise they used to do, television and computer games (sitting) occupies much of one’s time and people eat and drink highly processed foods and consume sugary drinks on a regular basis.
What Causes Type 2 Diabetes
When you eat or drink your body breaks down carbohydrates coming from both sweet foods and starches into glucose. Your pancreas responds by releasing insulin which transports glucose from the blood into cells where it is used for energy. Insulin is important therefore in helping to keep blood sugars in a normal range. Over time, especially in people who are at risk, and have gained weight or are obese, the body becomes resistant to insulin. Insulin resistance is the main problem in type 2 diabetes, insulin is still being produced but the body becomes resistant to the way insulin works.
Risk factors for Type 2 Diabetes
- You have Prediabetes
- Overweight (Approximately 80% of those with Type 2 diabetes are overweight)
- Related to someone else with Type 2 Diabetes
- Have a family member with Type 2 Diabetes
- Lack of physical activity
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
Often Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed on a routine physical or during a medical exam without any symptoms being present.
Sometimes initial symptoms may be:
- Cuts and sores taking longer to heal
- Feeling tired.
- Feeling thirsty
- Frequent urination
Left undiagnosed these symptoms can progress to:
- Increased tiredness
- Blurred vision
- Weight Loss even without change in diet or exercise frequency
- Numbness/ Tingling sensation in hands and/or feet
Living with Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes can be effectively managed with modifications to diet, losing weight if overweight or obese, and proper use of medication if necessary.
It has for a long time been known that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed but we now know that it is possible to reverse Type 2 diabetes, particularly if detected early, with significant lifestyle modifications. It is important that people understand the importance of good nutrition, choosing water instead of sugar sweetened drinks, and being physically active.