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Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

According to the World Health Organization, 382 million people worldwide have diabetes (2013). And this number is increasing considerably. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Let’s take a closer look at this condition and its symptoms and complications.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Diabetes causes the blood glucose levels in your body to rise higher than normal. The bodies of people with type 2 diabetes are not able to use insulin properly. When this happens, the glucose can’t get to the body’s cells. The cells need the glucose for energy. When glucose builds up in the blood and does not reach the cells, the body cannot function properly.

Consequences of diabetes type 2

Diabetes type 2 causes serious damage to the body. High blood glucose levels can damage tiny blood vessels and nerves. This can lead to heart and kidney disease and also eye problems, blindness and amputation of limbs. Furthermore, people with diabetes type 2 can become dehydrated because the build up of glucose in the blood increases urination. Severe dehydration could even lead to a diabetic coma, which is a life-threatening complication.

Causes of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body is not able to use the insulin that is produced. The pancreas (a gland behind the stomach) produces the hormone insulin. Insulin is needed to transfer glucose from the blood to the cells where it can be converted to energy. In type 2 diabetes, there is a problem with the pancreas. The main causes for this condition are:

  • Being overweight: people who are overweight or obese are more likely to develop diabetes type 2. In particular the fat around the belly increases the risk.
  • Age: the chances of getting type 2 diabetes increases with age. People over the age of 40 are at higher risk. However, in recent years, younger people have been getting diabetes type 2.
  • Ethnicity: type 2 diabetes is more common with African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. People from this area are also more likely to develop complications of diabetes at a younger age.

Treating diabetes type 2

There is no cure for diabetes type 2. However, it is possible to manage it and minimize the risk of health complications. It’s important to keep blood glucose levels balanced. Also lifestyle changes help, like eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly. Although you have to look after your health carefully, it is possible to live a long and normal life.