Diabetes is a medical condition that is increasing by the day. Blame it on the lifestyle habits or hereditary factors; this is one disease that does not find easy treatment and goes on to impact the quality of life.
Diabetes is a condition that affects the way the body uses up the glucose or sugar in your blood stream. Most of the diabetic patients suffer from type 2 diabetes. There are approximately 27 million people living with type 2 diabetes in the U.S. and another 86 million pre-diabetics. Pre-diabetics are people with higher amounts of glucose in their blood stream, but the amounts are not so high so as to fall in the diabetes bracket.
What is Diabetes?
People suffering from diabetes have a problem with their body being unable to turn the food and carbohydrates consumed into energy. This eventually leads to a buildup of excessive sugar levels in the blood. With time, this condition can also increase one’s chances of a heart attack, lead to blindness, or damage other nerves and organs in the body. The effects of diabetes are seen in the long-term and not immediately. This disease is also called a slow killer. It can occur in people of all ages, and the early symptoms may not even be noticed. Around 1 out of every 3 people suffering from type 2 diabetes is unaware of their condition, and that eventually leads to poor management of the disease.
What Triggers Diabetes?
The pancreas is responsible for making a hormone which is known as insulin. It is insulin that synthesizes the food we intake to release energy. The body cells turn glucose into the energy which is required for carrying out every function of the body. People suffering from type 2 diabetes do produce insulin in their body; however, the cells in their body are unable to use the hormone well enough to produce energy like they normally would. This phenomenon is referred to as insulin resistance.
In the beginning, the pancreas makes more insulin in an effort to have the glucose reach the cells in the body; however, in the long run, they are unable to keep up, which results in high levels of sugar building up in the bloodstream instead.
Here are some of the factors that could result in type 2 diabetes. These factors could singly or in combination be responsible for the occurrence of the disease in an individual:
- Genetic Factors: Researchers have found there to be a connection between the DNA of a person and the production of insulin. Certain genetic factors can put one at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Being overweight: Not being conscious about your weight can put you at risk of being obese, which in turn puts you at various other risks that could lead to insulin resistance. Having thick layers of fat around the waist and abdomen region particularly increase one’s chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes. These days, with the emergence of childhood obesity, a number of kids are being affected with type 2 diabetes at a young age.
- Excessive glucose from the liver: When the blood sugar levels are low, the liver ends up making glucose for the body. Hence, after you have just eaten, you are likely to experience higher readings of blood sugar. Normally the liver slows and stores the glucose to be used later; however, in some people, the liver is unable to do so, which leads to high levels of sugar being present in the blood stream.
- Poor communication between cells: In some cases, the body cells send out faulty or wrong signals. Sometimes the cells may also be unable to pick the signals and messages from other cells correctly. When these problems occur, they impact the way the cells make and use up the insulin and glucose from the foods eaten. It eventually leads to a chain reaction in the body that ultimately results in diabetes.
- Broken beta cells: When the body cells that use the insulin send out wrong doses of insulin at the wrong time, the blood sugar levels go haywire. High levels of glucose in the blood for a long time can also cause irreparable damage to these cells.
Are You At Risk of Type 2 Diabetes?
There are some conditions that could cause diabetes, putting you at a higher risk of suffering from this condition. These factors may or may not give you the disease; however, there are certain factors that would require attention. The more these factors apply to you, the higher your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
There are some factors that are beyond our control, which include:
- Increasing age increases one’s risk of getting type 2 diabetes. People who are 45 years of age or older are more likely to get this disease.
- Hereditary factors and having diabetes in the genes can increase your chances of acquiring diabetes. You are particularly at high risk if your immediate family member is suffering from this condition.
- Some other medical conditions or medications consumed could also increase your chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes. You should discuss the same with your doctor. These things are related to your health and medical history. Your doctor may be able to help.
Other risk factors are more associated with the lifestyle habits of people, and these are in one’s hands to alter:
- Lack of physical exercise increases your chances of acquiring type 2 diabetes.
- Smoking, apart from other health risks, also increases your chances of suffering from type 2 diabetes.
- Excessive stress can also lead to type 2 diabetes.
- Not getting adequate sleep at night can cause strain, which eventually could lead to type 2 diabetes.
How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Once you know the risk factors that could cause type 2 diabetes in you, there are some simple steps you can take to prevent the condition from worsening. There are certain medications that can be taken to prevent or minimize the effects and worsening of type 2 diabetes. Speak to your doctor about these. Certain changes in your everyday life will also go a long way in helping you deal with this medical condition. Some of these simple changes to be incorporated include the following:
- Lose weight: Losing all the extra weight is the best way reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Even cutting down your weight by 7 to 10% can help you greatly to reduce the risk associated with the disease.
- Adopt an active lifestyle: Being active every day is the best way to fight diabetes. As you move your body and the muscles, the insulin that is made by the body gets utilized. Just thirty minutes of a brisk walk each day can tremendously reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Eat right: Processed foods and carbohydrates are the worst enemies of the body. They increase your changes of getting not only diabetes but also various other lifestyle diseases, like high blood pressure. As far as possible, avoid or restrict your intake of processed forms of carbohydrates and drinks with excessive sugar. Also, restrict your intake of processed meat.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking is a habit that does no good but a lot of harm. Quitting smoking not only reduces your risk of acquiring diabetes but also other health issues.
Various factors can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. While some factors are not preventable, certain lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.