What is type 2 diabetes?
In a human body, all the cells get energy required for their processes through glucose. The food we eat, as it gets digested, is broken down to nutrients and most importantly, glucose and released into blood. When a person’s pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin to regulate normal sugar levels in the blood or is present but the body cannot utilize insulin properly, the condition is termed as Type 2 diabetes.
The condition usually develops slowly over years and so the symptoms may not be noticeable. Before diabetes develops, these people may have slightly higher values than normal but not very high to confirm diabetes, which is pre-diabetes – at this stage, making even slight changes in the lifestyle can help you prevent developing type 2 diabetes.
Unlike type 1 diabetes which majorly affects young age groups, type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in people of middle-age or older age populations and accounts for about 85-95% of the total diabetic population. The condition is mostly seen in people who are overweight or obese and are physically inactive. It could also be seen in elderly people who may not be overweight.
The most common, widely studied cause of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance which is a condition that decreases the body cells response to insulin, thereby raising the blood sugar levels. A common feature of a person having insulin resistance is the presence of a darkened velvety skin on the neck and armpits. Being overweight and physically inactive are two strongly associated modifiable factors that could increase the likelihood of developing insulin resistance. In such people, excess belly fat in the body produces certain hormones in the body which promote insulin resistance. In addition, they can also contribute the risk for other heart and blood vessel related disease.
Therefore, treatment and prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes primarily focus on lifestyle interventions such as a balanced diet and regular activity that can not only reduce significantly the risk but also sometimes reverse the condition. Hence, not only medicines but also diet and exercise play a key role in diabetes management. In addition to these pillars, self-monitoring of blood glucose is another key component of diabetes management which helps you to track and achieve better sugar control.
Although diabetes doesn’t produce any life-threatening symptoms in a short term, it can significantly deteriorate the health by leading to serious health complications that may result in blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, amputation of legs. Primary reason for such complications is the presence of high sugar levels over long periods that cause changes at a micro level in your body and impair the functionalities. So, special care and attention to diabetes complications through regular screening and appropriate management and preventions strategies measures is necessary.