If you are concerned about diabetes and how it can affect your health, you can learn about several aspects of the disease, its causes and treatments here. This page is dedicated to informing and assisting those affected or interested in this topic.

Overview

The disease known throughout the world as diabetes affects the body’s ability to use its levels of blood sugar to produce energy. There are three main types of this condition, which are type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

There is also a rare disorder known as diabetes insipidus, although this is not related to diabetes mellitus (sugar diabetes). Its symptoms have been seen to include increased thirst and urination, impaired or blurred vision and general fatigue. Understanding this condition is the first step in learning how to manage it.

The condition is a complex and troubling disease that slowly and painfully can take over a life.

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

The illness includes a number of diseases involving problems surrounding the hormone insulin. Obesity and lack of any physical activity are the two most common traits in type 2 diabetics.

Here we go some way to providing a better understanding of what causes type 2 diabetes, as well as what goes on in the body of the condition’s sufferers and the specific health problems which increase the risk of contracting this strain of the disease.

In a normal healthy person, the pancreas (an organ located behind the stomach) produces the hormone insulin which helps your body store and make use of the sugar derived from the food you eat. The illness manifests happens when the pancreas produce very little or no insulin or the body fails to respond appropriately to the insulin it does produce (a condition known as “insulin resistance”).

People with type II do produce insulin, unlike those with the type 1 version of the illness. However, the insulin the pancreas produces is either insufficient or the body doesn’t recognize the insulin and use it properly (called insulin-resistance).

When there is a lack of insulin or it is not used as it should be, the glucose (sugar) present in the blood cannot be absorbed into the body’s cells. A build up of glucose in the blood (instead of going into cells), prevents the body’s cells from functioning properly.

Insulin and the Cause of Type II Diabetes

Here is why insulin is important and how the body uses food for energy. The human body is made up of millions of individual cells. In order to produce energy, the cells need food that comes in a very simple form.

Most of the nourishment your body takes in when you eat or drink is broken down into the simple sugar, glucose. Glucose is transported through the bloodstream and delivered to your body’s cells where it is used to provide the energy your body needs for its daily activities.

The amount of glucose that is present in your bloodstream is regulated by the hormone, insulin. In a healthy body, insulin is continually being released in small amounts by the beta cells located in the Islets of Langerhans which are found in the pancreas.

The way it works is that when the level of glucose in your blood rises, the pancreas releases more insulin in order to send more glucose into the cells, causing the glucose levels in your blood to drop again to its normal state.

Alternatively, to prevent your blood glucose levels from dropping too low (hypoglycemia or low blood sugar), your body sends you the signal to eat and also releases some of the stored glucose from liver.

By definition, a blood glucose level of 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more following a scheduled overnight fast is known as diabetes.

Health Risk Factors

It is believed there is a strong genetic link with type II. This means it tends to run in families. If you believe you have any of the risk factors outlined below, you should ask your doctor about having a test to ascertain whether you have this condition or not.

The condition can be managed with a well devised diet and healthy lifestyle, along with related medication, if necessary. As you become your own health advocate, do continue seeking out all the latest information regarding this illness.

Type 2 diabetes risk factors include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High blood triglyceride levels
  • Gestational diabetes or giving birth to a baby weighing in excess of 9 pounds
  • A high alcohol intake
  • A high-fat diet
  • Obesity or being overweight
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups with origins such as African, Native American, Hispanic and Japanese have a greater risk of developing the type 2 variant of the disease than non-Hispanic whites
  • Age: The risk of developing this disease rises at around the age of 45 and rises considerably after the age of 65

Preventing Diabetes

The type 1 variant cannot be prevented. However, the type 2 variant has modifiable risk factors and these can help you reduce your risk of contracting the disease.

Due to the link between obesity and diabetes, the chances of developing the disease can be reduced by losing weight if you are overweight. This is especially important if it runs in your family.

Studies have shown that a healthy diet and sufficient exercise can prevent the development of the type II variant in those with impaired glucose tolerance. This is a condition that often develops prior to the onset of the condition.

Certain medications may also provide similar benefit. Both the dedicated drugs Metformin and Precose have been shown to prevent the onset of the condition in people with impaired glucose tolerance.

A nutritionally balanced diet and exercise can greatly limit the effects of both types 1 and 2 diabetes on the body in a person who already the condition.

In diabetics, quitting smoking is one of the best ways to prevent the damaging effects of the illness on the body. This is because smoking, particularly for people with the condition, dramatically increases the risk of heart disease and other potentially fatal conditions.