type 2 diabetes
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Type 2 Diabetes - Causes, Prevention & Treatment

Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic and lifelong condition that is characterized by the inability of the cells in your body to respond adequately to insulin; the hormone that brings glucose from the blood to the cells where it is used for energy. Due to the inability of the cells to utilize the sugar in the insulin, blood sugar levels rise and the body is forced to rely on alternative energy sources in muscles and internal organs, and other parts of your body. Read more about type 2 diabetes treatment and prevention below.

What are the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

The problem with Type 2 Diabetes is that it is not always easy to detect as symptoms may be unnoticeable. Some of the indications or Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes are listed below. These diabetes mellitus symptoms may worsen as the disease progresses and if left untreated.

  • Excessive Thirst and Urination : Both these symptoms are the result of the body working to get rid of the extra sugar in the blood.
  • Weight Loss : Unintentional loss of weight without any change in lifestyle or physical activity.
  • Wounds that do not Heal : Skin cuts or open wounds that take longer than usual to heal or do not heal at all.
  • Blurry Vision : Often one of the first warning signs of diabetes.
  • Hunger : Constant urge to eat as the body is not able to harness the energy it is supposed to.
  • Fatigue and Tiredness : General lack of energy and stamina that causes individuals to get tired very easily with minimal physical activity.

Who is at Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?

The Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes are varied but there are some specific factors, both controllable and uncontrollable, that could contribute to a greater risk of developing the disease.

  • Age : those who are over 45 years of age run a higher chance of suffering from Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Family History : hereditary risks may exist if a sibling or parent is a Type 2 Diabetic.
  • Obesity or being Overweight : an unhealthy lifestyle and dietary habits.
  • Smoking : has also been observed to pose higher risks.
  • High Blood Pressure : individuals who have at some point had high blood pressure.
  • Lack of Exercise : those who lead sedentary lives with inadequate exercise.
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How is Type 2 Diabetes Caused?

  • The Pancreas is responsible for the production of a hormone called insulin that plays a crucial role in the conversion of glucose into energy.
  • Glucose is a type of sugar that is obtained from the food consumed and when the cells are not able to properly harness this energy from the insulin, blood sugar builds up leading to a variety of problems.
  • Scientists have offered several explanations for why this happens and a genetic factor might be present in some cases.
  • The Primary Causes of Type 2 Diabetes include the body’s development of insulin resistance where the cells do not respond properly to the hormone or the body’s inability to produce enough insulin to break down blood sugar.

How is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?

There are several diagnostic tests with the help of the symptoms, if any, can help in the detection of Type 2 Diabetes.

  1. Glycated Hemoglobin (A1C) Test : Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis is usually done with the help of this blood test that indicates a person’s average blood sugar levels calculated for a period of around two or three months.
  2. Random Blood Sugar Test : Regular checkups to measure sugar levels in the blood can also help diagnose Type 2 Diabetes if the results are abnormally high and especially when there are accompanying symptoms.
  3. Fasting Blood Sugar Test : A blood sample is taken after the individual fasts for at least eight hours overnight to negate the influence of recent meals and food intake. Two tests usually needed to diagnose Type 2 Diabetes.
  4. Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) : A liquid is administered to the individual and blood sugar levels are monitored over the next few hours. It is not very common except in the cases of pregnant women.
    Routine screening is recommended for all those over the age of 45 and especially those who are overweight.

Type 2 Diabetes Treatment

Diabetes mellitus treatment is often a mix of both lifestyle changes as well as medication. It is best to consult an Endocrinologist to ascertain the best course of treatment.

  • Lifestyle Changes : Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes must necessarily include weight loss and healthy eating habits. Eliminating fatty and less nutritious foods from your diet and getting ample exercise is essential to try and reverse the effects of Type 2 Diabetes. Yoga, strength training, or cardio workouts can all be opted for to get more physical activity. The individual will also be required to undergo regular monitoring of blood sugar levels.
  • Medication : When lifestyle changes do not achieve the desired results, medication is a must. Metformin is usually considered the best medicine for Type 2 Diabetes which helps the body respond better to insulin. Other medications also include Meglitinides that boost insulin production, insulin shots, and also DPP-4 inhibitors that directly lower blood sugar levels.

How can Type 2 Diabetes be Prevented?

Let's understand how to prevent diabetes

  • Adopting a healthy lifestyle can greatly assist in the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: do not allow your body weight to rise to unhealthy levels.
  • Healthy Diet: reduce consumption of high-calorie, unhealthy processed foods.
  • Get Exercise: Ensure at least thirty minutes of exercise a day in the form of jogging, cycling, walking, swimming, strength training, or yoga.
  • Quit Smoking.

FAQs

Is type 2 diabetes always preventable?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where the human body does not utilize the insulin released optimally or does not produce enough insulin in the body. This results in insulin resistance which affects the blood glucose levels and is what causes diabetes to become a long term health issue. There are various causes of type 2 diabetes and some of the most common ones are leading an unhealthy lifestyle, genetics, hampered liver function, etc. 

Type 2 diabetes cannot be cured but it can be prevented and even controlled to a great extent. Making lifestyle changes such as eating healthy, maintaining a regular workout routine, avoiding junk food, alcohol and smoking and maintaining a proper sleep schedule go a long way in helping people remain healthy and avoid diabetes and diabetes related diseases. Regular checkups with your doctor will also  help in preventing diabetes from developing in your body. 

How can I prevent diabetes naturally?

There are measures that can be taken for type two diabetes prevention naturally:

  1. Lose extra kilos : losing weight immediately reduces the risk of developing diabetes as regularly working out causes the excess sugar in the bloodstream to be used up for energy. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy body mass ratio also prevents any build up of sugar in fat cells in the body and prevents diabetes development. Diabetes is linked to obesity so maintaining a healthy weight is very important. 
  2. Maintain a balanced diet : Eating healthy will automatically cause you to lose weight and will prevent a host of diseases that come with age. Getting enough amounts of protein, fiber and healthy fats is crucial so that the inner workings of our body remains smooth and undisturbed and our immunity improves. Drinking plenty of water is also a must.
  3. Get regular checkups done : Getting your blood work done is a great way to assess the vitamins and minerals that you need to consume more or less of. Vitamin D and B12 are crucial in maintaining good health and a regular blood test will keep you updated on your blood sugar levels. 

Overall a healthy lifestyle should be maintained in order to prevent diabetes naturally. Getting enough sleep, de-stressing yourself and remaining active are some of the most important steps that should be taken to avoid developing diabetes.

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