Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus - Definition of the Disease

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus - Definition of the Disease

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is an endocrine disease with a chronic course, resulting from impairment of the processes of carbohydrate metabolism and leading to a persistent increase in blood glucose levels.

First of all, in type 2 diabetes (Latin: diabetes mellitus; other terms: adult diabetes, diabetes mellitus, insulin-dependent diabetes), two interrelated problems are observed: the pancreas does not produce enough insulin - a hormone that regulates the flow of sugar into the cells, and the cells lose their ability to respond to insulin subsequently developing resistance.

Previously, type 2 diabetes was diagnosed exclusively in adult patients, especially in the elderly. However, studies show that type 2 diabetes also affects children and adolescents who are obese.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus - Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop gradually and imperceptibly. Patients can live with type 2 diabetes for several years without being aware of the disease. Symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include:

  • a very strong and constant feeling of hunger,
  • frequent urination,
  • uncontrollable and constant thirst,
  • fluctuations in body weight and muscle mass,
  • fatigue,
  • blurred vision,
  • slow-healing ulcers and wounds,
  • frequent infections,
  • numbness or tingling in the hands or feet,
  • itching in the genital area,
  • Females can experience frequent thrush.

It is necessary to emphasize the risk factors that are worth paying special attention to:

  • excess weight or obesity - the main factor in the occurrence of the disease,
  • low-activity lifestyles,
  • heredity, i.e. if relatives suffered from type 2 diabetes,
  • race and ethnicity. There is no clear explanation as to why people of certain races and ethnic groups, including those of African descent, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asians, as well as Pacific Islanders, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than people with white skin,
  • low levels of high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) and high levels of triglycerides,
  • age, i.e. the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases with age, especially after 45 years,
  • prediabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. In the absence of treatment, prediabetes often turns into type 2 diabetes mellitus,
  • gestational diabetes during pregnancy or women who have given birth to children weighing more than 4 kg,
  • the presence of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), characterized by an irregular menstrual cycle, excessive hair growth, and obesity.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus - Complications

Type 2 diabetes negatively affects many parts of the body including the heart, blood vessels, peripheral nerves, visual organs, and kidneys. Also, elements that increase the risk of developing diabetes are listed as risk factors for other serious chronic diseases. Regular health checks and blood sugar monitoring can reduce the risk of complications or comorbidities.

Possible complications of type 2 diabetes and frequent comorbidities include:

  • diseases of the cardiovascular system; type 2 diabetes increases the risk of heart disease (such as stroke), high blood pressure, and narrowing of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis),
  • damage to the nerves of the lower and upper extremities due to high blood sugar levels can damage nerves over time, leading to consequences such as numbness, burning, pain, or loss of sensation, which usually starts at the tips of the toes or hands and gradually spreads to other areas of the extremities,
  • other complications associated with nerve damage, for example, damage to the nerves of the heart can contribute to heart rhythm disturbances, and damage to the nerves of the digestive system can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. In men, nerve damage can cause erectile dysfunction,
  • women who are pregnant while suffering from diabetes, have an increase in the risk of early fetal death, missed abortion, and miscarriages,
  • kidney disease,
  • eye damage. Type 2 diabetes increases the risk of serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and glaucoma, and can damage the blood vessels of the retina, which can lead to blindness,
  • worsening of skin conditions, higher susceptibility to skin, bacterial and fungal infections,
  • slower healing; if left untreated, cuts and blisters can become a hotbed of serious infections. Serious damage may even require amputation of a finger, foot, or leg,
  • hearing impairment; hearing problems are more common in people with type 2 diabetes,
  • sleep apnea — a breathing disorder often reported in patients with type 2 diabetes,
  • dementia; according to some studies, type 2 diabetes increases the risk of diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, and also affects the deterioration of memory, concentration, and other cognitive skills.

Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Following the rules of a healthy lifestyle can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Even if you have biological relatives who have diabetes or have been diagnosed with prediabetes, lifestyle changes can slow down the development of the disease or even halt it completely.

A healthy lifestyle includes the following:

  • eating healthy food; choose foods that are lower in fat and calories and high in fiber. Your daily diet should include fruit, vegetables, and whole grains,
  • active lifestyle; it is important to engage in regular exercise (min. 150 minutes weekly), such as brisk walks, cycling, running, or swimming,
  • body weight control; achieving small weight loss and maintaining the correct body mass index can slow the development of type 2 diabetes, as well as protect against prediabetes. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes, losing 7% to 10% of your body weight can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes,
  • avoid prolonged inactivity; a low-activity lifestyle (for example, sitting for a long time) increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Try to get up every 30 minutes and move (do exercises) for at least a few minutes.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus - Lifestyle

Patients suffering from type 2 diabetes are advised to pay close attention to their health. Even the best doctor can't help you if you don't take responsibility for your health. Patients need to lead an active lifestyle, monitor their psychological state, and follow all their doctor's recommendations to prevent the development of this chronic disease.

Patients need to constantly monitor their vision, the condition of their limbs, and their nervous systems to avoid deterioration.

Patients with type 2 diabetes are strongly advised to engage in regular exercise activities (min. 150 min. weekly), preferably outdoors, such as cycling, running, brisk walking, etc. However, before engaging in physical activity, the type and intensity of exercise should be discussed with your doctor.

Patients should also significantly reduce or completely abandon bad habits, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, which not only affect the diagnosis of insulin levels in the blood but also increase the risk of other dangerous diseases that can complicate the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In situations involving the consumption of alcohol, it is necessary for patients to observe a healthy weekly limit of 100 ml (for men) and 75 ml (for women).

Patients suffering from type 2 diabetes should take care of themselves including the condition of their skin; they should regularly check their skin for cuts or injuries, wear comfortable shoes (if necessary, visit an orthopedist), and they should also monitor their vision by visiting an optometrist. Both the patient’s psychological state and the condition of their surroundings are crucial; they should be mindful to avoid loneliness and always remember that they are not isolated in their suffering from this disease. Patients should discuss with their doctor which support clubs work operate in their area. Today, patients can also find a large number of forums on the Internet where one can ask questions, as well as find lots of useful information provided by other patients or doctors.

Women who are planning a pregnancy should discuss their health status with their doctor and constantly monitor the norms while pregnant since the health of the expectant mother affects the health of the unborn child.

If your child is diagnosed with diabetes, you should make positive changes to your family's lifestyşe and follow the recommendations of your doctor. First of all, parents should learn as much as possible about this disease and what causes the progression of diabetes. If you need professional help, contact your doctor.

Parents should learn all the necessary skills, interact with their children's school environment listen to the advice of specialists. Be sure to monitor your own psychological state, as your child needs your support. Find local support groups and cultivate the belief that you and your child can lead normal lives with this diagnosis.

FAQ-Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Is type 2 diabetes a serious disease?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires taking anti-diabetic medications, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, patients can prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and its side effects (complications) if they consult a doctor in advance, identify the disease at an early stage and undergo the appropriate treatment.

Is it possible to leave 2 diabetes untreated?

If type 2 diabetes is left untreated, high blood sugar levels can damage various cells and organs. Complications may include kidney damage, which often leads to dialysis, vision impairment, which can lead to blindness, and an increased risk of heart disease or stroke.

Does type 2 diabetes worsen over time?

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease that usually worsens over time. Making lifestyle changes, such as introducing proper nutrition and implementing an active lifestyle, can initially help patients control their blood glucose levels. However, such changes may not be sufficient in the long run.

Is type 2 diabetes an incurable disease?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to dangerous complications. However, following the recommendations of a therapist and implementing effective treatment strategies, patients suffering from this disease have a very high chance of living as long as a person who is not burdened with this disease.

How to cure type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes can be cured, but to do this, patients need to eat right, exercise regularly, and follow all the recommendations of doctors. If patients can change their lifestyles for the better, and manage to lose weight, they can effectively halt the development of the disease and avoid further complications. Also, it should be noted that modern medicine is developing in a dynamic way; diseases such as type 2 diabetes are studied in detail leading to more and more effective methods of treatment. Today, many diseases are successfully treated, which would have seemed impossible a few years or decades ago.

What drinks are harmful to type 2 diabetes sufferers?

Patients suffering from diabetes should avoid the consumption of carbonated drinks, energy drinks (also beverages containing caffeine), and sweetened or unsweetened fruit juices. It is necessary to stop consuming alcoholic beverages. The patient's diets should only include water, tea (unsweetened), vegetable juices, and other drinks that do not contain sugar.

What foods should patients suffering from type 2 diabetes avoid?

Foods containing trans fats, white bread, rice, and pasta. Also, sweetened breakfast cereals and dried fruits should be excluded from patients’ diets. For a more detailed list of prohibited and permitted food and beverage items, it is best to refer to a doctor.

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