Diabetes is a common medical condition where your pancreas has trouble producing sufficient or efficient levels of insulin, a hormone that is primarily associated with regulating the concentration of sugar in your bloodstream. Type II diabetes, which is often associated with obesity, is the most common form of diabetes, affecting approximately one in every three adults. Here are some of the things that you should know about type II diabetes.
What is type II diabetes and insulin resistance?
In healthy people, insulin will take glucose into your cells to provide your cells with necessary nutrients. Type II diabetes is a result of insulin resistance, which can cause sugar to accumulate in your bloodstream. This means that your body is not properly responding to the insulin produced by your pancreas. To compensate for your lack of effective insulin, your pancreas will try making extra insulin, but the pancreas cannot keeping on working too hard for too long. Eventually, your pancreas will tire out. When this happens, you will not have enough insulin to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which can have a negative long term impacts on your health.
What kinds of things can cause type II diabetes?
Type II diabetes is often triggered by a number of factors related to your genetics, behaviors, environment, and overall health. Obesity, high BMI, and unhealthy food habits are probably the most well-known and well researched cause of type II diabetes, but there are other medical conditions that can also cause diabetes such as high blood sugar, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
What are some of the common risk factors?
The process of aging is often linked with diabetes, so people over the age of 45 are at more of a risk of getting type II diabetes. However, it is becoming more and more prevalent in younger people because of the increase in child obesity. A family history of type II diabetes can also put you at risk. African Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics or Latinos, and Pacific Islander-Americans also seem to be especially susceptible. Conditions such as prediabetes, heart disease, blood vessel diseases, stroke, high blood pressure, low cholesterol, anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders are all associated with type II diabetes as well. Risk factors related to your lifestyle include lack of exercise, poor sleep habits, smoking, and stress.
How can type II diabetes be avoided?
Maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle can significantly decrease your risk of getting type II diabetes. Stay active, eat well, lose weight, and ditch any unhealthy habits like drinking alcohol and smoking. Some studies suggest that getting more sunlight (or Vitamin D) can also improve your chances of avoiding type II diabetes.
What are the signs and symptoms of type II diabetes?
For most people, early signs of diabetes are almost nonexistent and many of the more noticeable problems do not occur until you experience years of elevated blood glucose levels. Once your blood sugar gets high enough, common symptoms are thirst, constant urination, blurry vision, irritability, hunger, weight changes, tingling in your hands and feet, numbness in your hands and feet, areas of darkened skin, exhaustion, and wounds that do not sufficiently heal. Most of these symptoms are still going to be very mild and 8 million people who experience many of these mild symptoms fail to identify them as a serious health concern. Try to stay alert and make sure your doctor knows about your medical and family history. Symptoms that are considered long term effects of type II diabetes include more serious problems with your heart, kidneys, eyes, nerves, extremities, ears, skin, and brain.
Can diabetes be treated?
There is no cure for diabetes and it will be a lifelong condition, but there are a number of ways for you to effectively manage your symptoms and keep your type II diabetes under control. Follow any instructions that your doctor gives you about taking insulin and any other medications. You should also try to regularly check your blood glucose levels to ensure that they are not dangerously high or low. Of course, stay healthy by eating well and exercising. Research shows that the more educated you are about your conditions, the less likely you are to be severely impacted by the health detriments, so do not hesitate to talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
Is there any hope for a cure in the future?
New research is conducted all of the time regarding the treatment of type II diabetes, especially because of its rising prevalence (which many researchers have attributed to the higher rates of obesity in the United States). Some studies show that getting sufficient vitamin D from sunlight or from vitamin supplements can be beneficial for people with type II diabetes because of vitamin D’s importance is metabolizing glucose. Other studies have examined the use of enzymes (known as glucokinase activators) used to metabolize sugar to treat the high blood glucose levels that are associated with type II diabetes. Researchers, however, argue about whether or not any of this research on new diabetes treatments can eventually lead to a complete cure or reversal of type II diabetes.
Weight loss surgeries have been effective in getting people with type II diabetes to go into remission, but the effects of this surgery is usually temporary. Animal testing has revealed that certain surgeries and procedures on the foregut and hindgut (the second half of your digestive tract) can work as cures for type II diabetes in the future, but further research is definitely necessary before these operations can become an accepted practice among healthcare providers.
If you are diagnosed with type II diabetes, it might be upsetting that it will probably be a long time before there is an FDA approved cure. However, with new research, managing diabetes is becoming increasingly easier as long as you do your best to stay healthy. Talk to your doctor in order to help you find methods of staying healthy that work bests for you.