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This type of diabetes used to only affect adults since insulin resistance is linked with obesity, but children are also being affected due to increased calorie intake resulting in obesity in children. This is thought to occur due to an increased exposure to a westernized diet as well as easily accessible high fat, refined foods in urban areas.
Although there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, it can be managed with adequate calorie control and physical activity which help to maintain a healthy weight. Medication may need to be used if these aspects aren't adequate enough.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes
The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes can take a long period of time to develop and patients may not even know that they have this condition. Patients need to try and be aware of the following:
- Increased thirst and water intake - increased glucose levels in the bloodstream causes fluid to drawn from the tissues of the body. This results in decreased fluid levels in these tissues which then leads to increased thirst.
- Increased urination - the fluid pulled into the bloodstream from the tissues needs to be expelled and thus the patient needs to urinate more frequently.
- Increased hunger - this is triggered when the body's tissues and organs become deprived of energy due to glucose not being moved into the cells.
- Initial weight loss - since the body struggles to metabolize glucose, it uses other sources of fuel such as muscle. Here, calories are then lost since the excess amount of glucose in the blood is lost through the urine.
- Slow healing wounds.
- Blurred vision.
- Areas of darkened skin especially in the areas of the neck and the armpits. This is called acanthosis nigricans.
Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes
The reason why people develop type 2 diabetes is not fully understood despite all the research that has been conducted on this disease. There are certain factor though which have been noted to increase the risk to developing type 2 diabetes. These include the following:
- Being overweight - the more fatty tissue one has, the higher the chance is of these cells becoming resistant to the effects of insulin.
- Fat distribution - if more fat is stored in the abdomen, then the chance of developing type 2 diabetes increases.
- Physical inactivity - less activity can lead to becoming overweight and then the above-mentioned issues come into affect.
- Having a family history of type 2 diabetes.
- Race - Black folk, Asians and Hispanics are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than whites. The reason for this is unknown.
- Age - the chances of developing this condition increases with age, especially after age 45.
- Gestational diabetes - pregnant women who had gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes after the pregnancy.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome - PCOS increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.