Type 2 Diabetes – Symptoms, Causes, Cure, Diet, Medications and Treatment.

What is Type 2 Diabetes mellitus?

Diabetes mellitus type 2, also known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), is a metabolic disorder in which the body is not able to regulate the blood glucose level. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body either stops producing the hormone insulin or the cells stop responding to insulin.

Insulin is required to store glucose in the cells that can be later used to produce energy. When type 2 diabetes develops glucose is no longer properly used for energy. The body stops responding to natural insulin, resulting in increased blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is an irreversible condition and requiring management throughout life, but it can be controlled by taking insulin, with dietary interventions and weight loss or weight control as directed by the physician.

Type 2 diabetes increases the chances of angina, heart attack and stroke. In many cases diabetic kidney damage, diabetic foot ulcers or circulation problems in the legs and feet and diabetic eye damage have been observed. All these conditions have been reported but they can be prevented. Regular physician visits are needed to screen for diabetes complications. Diabetes is a lifelong condition that requires intensive management. Ninety percent of patients with diabetes have type 2.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes might go unnoticed for years or may be identified during a routine checkup. Sometimes there are no symptoms.

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Loss of stamina
  • Fatigue or muscle weakness
  • Sudden increase or decrease in weight
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor healing of wounds
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Gum problems
  • Itching
  • For women, vaginal and skin yeast infections are frequent

Type 2 Diabetes Causes

Researchers are devoted to unraveling the complexities of the exact cause of type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle choices are important factors in the development of the disease and include obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Fat, especially in the mid section, destroys the body’s ability to use insulin. It is also possible for thin people to develop diabetes.

Other contributors to type 2 diabetes include:

  • Obesity
  • Age (over 45)
  • High blood pressure
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Ethnicity including Hispanic, Native American and African American
  • Low HDL or good cholesterol
  • High triglyceride levels.

Studies suggest that a healthy lifestyle, exercise, healthy food and alcohol consumption in moderation lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus can be inherited. People with a diabetic family history are at higher risk and should be periodically screened for the disease. In certain cases the gene might not express itself.

Type 2 Diabetes Cure

Diabetes mellitus 2 cannot be cured once the body stops regulating insulin. It is important to prevent the disease. Diet and exercise may be enough to control the symptoms, depending on your physician’s recommendations. In other instances insulin or oral medication may be needed combined with diet and activity.

Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

Treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus is individualized and depends on the severity of the disease. The level of blood glucose defines a patient’s course of treatment. Different diabetic patients need to follow different plans for their treatment. The aim of diabetes treatment is to keep the blood glucose level in a healthy range. A plan for treatment of diabetes would involve:

  • Healthy and balanced diet
  • Regular exercising
  • Keeping blood sugar level in control
  • Maintaining a record of blood sugar levels
  • Avoidance of smoking
  • Less consumption of alcohol
  • Taking the prescribed medication regularly
  • Maintaining weight and fitness

Type 2 Diabetes Diet

It is very important for a diabetic to take care of his diet and eat healthy foods regularly. Food should be taken at regular intervals. Avoid eating foods with high sugar content. It is not necessary to eat special diabetic food. Portion control and variety is essential.

To control type 2 diabetes, a balanced diet includes carbohydrates, fats, proteins, micronutrients and roughage.

Proper diet decreases the risk of the long term ill effects of diabetes that include heart attack, stroke, and nerve and kidney damage. Nutritional counseling is recommended to learn which foods to eat. Attending diabetes classes can help type 2 diabetics learn how to eat properly.

The focus of diet for management of type 2 diabetes is to help the body control glucose levels. Proper meal planning is essential. Eating the right foods can reduce the need for oral medications and insulin. Meals for diabetes management are healthy, enjoyable and well-balanced.

Type 2 Diabetes Medications

Medication is required for type 2 diabetes when lifestyle changes fail to control blood sugar levels. Medication for diabetes is only to be taken when prescribed by a registered physician.

The Mayo Clinic summarizes medications used to treat type 2 diabetes according to their class:

“Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, amylin agonists, dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, meglitinides, sulfonylureas and thiazolidinediones. Each class contains one or more specific drugs. Some of these drugs are taken orally. Others must be injected.

Various diabetes drugs work in different ways to lower blood sugar. A drug may work by:

  • Stimulating the pancreas to produce and release more insulin
  • Inhibiting the production and release of glucose from the liver, which means you need less insulin to transport sugar into your cells
  • Blocking the action of stomach enzymes that break down carbohydrates or make tissues more sensitive to insulin.

Insulin treatment for type 2 diabetes is based on the onset and duration of action. Fasting glucose levels greater than 250 mg/dL are toxic and usually require treatment with insulin. It is possible to return to lifestyle, diet and oral medications once glucose levels are controlled. In some cases a combination of oral medications and insulin is needed to maintain normal blood sugar levels.

Lifestyle changes can eliminate the need for medication for type 2 diabetes, but will not cure the disease. Getting blood sugar levels under control with exercise, weight loss and diet does not mean type 2 diabetes is cured. A daily regimen of eating the right kinds of food, maintaining activity and keeping weight in check can keep type 2 diabetes under control, decrease the chances of complications and result in significant healthcare spending.

References:

Mayo Clinic: Type 2 diabetes

American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness

Mayo Clinic: Medications for Diabetes

American Family Physician: Insulin Therapy

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