Type 2 Diabetes

1 What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects the metabolisms of sugar (glucose) in the body. It was previously known as adult-onset or non insulin-dependent diabetes because it mostly affects adults.

However, the cases of children who have type 2 diabetes is increasing. Disorders in the metabolism of insulin are due to insulin resistance or reduced secretion of insulin by the pancreas. It is usually caused by obesity. Increased physical activity and a healthy diet can be helpful in management of symptoms.

2 Prediabetes: Will you develop type 2 diabetes?

This scary question often haunts individuals whose blood glucose levels are in the borderline for Type 2 diabetes. Continue reading  to discover in details about your risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes, as the name suggests, is a condition where an individual has not developed full-fledged diabetes. However, the elevated blood sugar levels and other co-occurring factors suggest Type 2 diabetes in near sight if timely measures are not taken. The good news is prediabetes is reversible. Studies suggest lifestyle modifications can reduce the risk of developing Type diabetes by 40%-70%.

What’s the Conversion Rate?

It’s hard to find concrete numbers or percentage of the prediabetics who transform into diabetics. The rate of such conversion depends on the individual physiological characteristics as well as the definition of prediabetes, which can vary depending on the guidelines.

In general, about 5%-10% of prediabetics turn into Type 2 diabetics every year. You should remember that your risk also depends on other factors such as gender, age, the level of physical activity and exposure to air pollutants.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggests a more frightening stats as it says up to 70% of individuals with prediabetes will eventually develop Type 2 diabetes over years.

If you are concerned about prediabetes or think you have been exposed to a greater number of risk factors for Type 2 diabetes, you can visit your doctor to determine

Prediabetes Quick Facts

  • The rising worldwide incidence of prediabetes suggests more than 470 million individuals will have prediabetes by 2030.
  • Prediabetes is reversible according to various studies and National Institute of Health (NIH).
  • Weight management and increased physical activity are key to halting the progression to Type 2 diabetes.
  • In addition to the lifestyle modifications, your doctor may also prescribe diabetes pills such as metformin, rosiglitazone, and pioglitazone. According to some studies, administration of these medications can cut down the risk of conversion by as much as 70%.
  • Like Type 2 diabetes, prediabetes may also cause damages to the kidneys (nephropathy), nerves (neuropathy), eyes (retinopathy), heart and blood vessels.

The population-based U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) suggests that 35% of U.S. adults over 20 years of age and 50% of those over 65 had prediabetes in 2005–2008 based on fasting glucose or A1c levels.

3 The top 3 type 2 diabetes myths you should not believe

At a time when the internet is full of information that may or may not be credible, you can find yourself in confusion when looking for accurate health information.

Below you will find the 3 most common yet misleading Type 2 diabetes myths. Also, learn the truth behind them, so that you would be able to enjoy your life without the fear of diabetes.

Myth 1

The symptoms of Type 2 diabetes can develop when you become obese.

The truth:

There is no doubt that obesity is one of the most influential risk factors for Type 2 diabetes. However, it does not mean that every obese individual, measured by BMI, will develop Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes, like other chronic disorder, is a result of a combination of various contributing factors such as heredity, lifestyle and dietary factors. It is fairly possible that you may find a slim person who lives a very sedentary life developing Type 2 diabetes.

Myth 2

Consuming high amounts of sugar can cause Type 2 diabetes.

The truth:

Like diabetes itself, the truth is a bit complicated, to say the least. Some studies suggest a possible link between consumption of very sugary drinks to Type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, the clear link is still not in sight. High sugar consumption can make you obese over time and obesity is a known risk factor for diabetes. Doctors recommend moderate consumption of sugary items to keep your weight and subsequently, your diabetes risk in check.

Myth 3

If you have diabetes, you cannot have sweets.

The truth:

You will definitely not be allowed to binge on those sugary items. However, you may be able to have a small portion of sweets a few times a month to please your sweet tooth. If you have been struggling with the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes or Type 1 diabetes, what you eat and how much you eat are equally important.

In essence, portion size and frequency of intake are the key components of a healthy diabetic food plan.

4 Type 2 diabetes symptoms

Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes usually develop over a long period of time.

Many people may not realize that they have type 2 diabetes for years because they may not experience any symptoms.

The signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes may include:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Weight loss despite eating more than usual to relieve hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
  • Areas of darkened skin usually in the armpit or neck

5 Type 2 diabetes causes

The exact cause of type 2 diabetes still remains unknown. 

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin. It can also be as a result of decreased production of insulin by the pancreas.

However, genetics and environmental factors, such as excess weight and lack of physical activity have been shown to contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes.

Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. The insulin circulates in the bloodstream and facilitates the movement of sugar into the cells. Therefore, insulin lowers the level of sugar in the blood.

In insulin-resistance, sugar fails to move into the cells. This causes the pancreas to secrete more insulin. This may lead to the impairment of the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas and reduced insulin production.

6 Diagnosing type 2 diabetes

Tests used to diagnose to diagnose type 2 diabetes include:

  • Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test - which can indicate the amount of sugar in the blood for the past two to three months.

    This test works by measuring the amount of glucose attached to hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying protein of red blood cells. An A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher indicates diabetes.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends A1C testing every three months to ensure the blood sugar level goals are met. The American Diabetes Association has introduced a formula that translates the A1C into what is known as an estimated average glucose (eAG). The eAG more closely correlates with daily blood sugar readings. An A1C of 7 percent translates into an eAG of 154 mg/dL (8mmol/L).

    An elevated A1C level may be an indication that the insulin regimen is not effective.

  • Random blood sugar test - which can be taken at any time. Regardless of when a child last ate, a random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) indicates diabetes.
  • Fasting blood sugar test - in which a person is asked to fast overnight and the level of sugar is measured on the next day, usually in the morning. A fasting blood sugar level of 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmole/L) is normal. A fasting blood sugar level of 100-125 mg/dL (5.6- 6.9 mmol/L) is considered as prediabetes and if it is higher than 126 mg/dL (7mmol/L) it is considered as diabetes.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test - A patient is asked to fast overnight and the fasting blood sugar level is measured. Then he or she is asked to take a sugary liquid and the blood sugar level is measured two hours later. A blood sugar level of less than 140 mg/dL (7.8mmol/L) is normal. A reading of 140 to 199 mg/dL (7.8-11.0 mmol/L) indicates prediabetes and a reading of more than 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) indicates diabetes.

7 Type 2 diabetes treatment

Treatment of type 2 diabetes includes:

  • Medications such as metformin (Fortamet, Glucophage, Glumatza)-which reduces the amount of sugar the liver releases into the blood. Side effects of this drug include nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea and headaches.
  • Insulin therapy which can be given as an injection or insulin pump. Insulin cannot be given orally because the enzymes of the stomach destroy it. A fine needle or an insulin pen, which looks similar to ink pens can be used to inject insulin under the skin. Multiple daily injections usually consist of different types of insulin (Long-acting and regular insulin).

    An insulin pump is a small device about the size of a cellphone that can be worn outside the body. A tube connects the reservoir to a catheter that is inserted under the skin of the abdomen. It can be worn as a waistband, in a pocket or as a specially designed pump belt. Pumps are programmed to dispense specific amounts of rapid-acting insulin automatically. This steady dose of insulin is known as the basal rate, and it replaces any long-acting insulin that a person was using. Types of insulins which are available include, rapid-acting, long-acting and intermediate acting insulin.

  • Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels. This can be performed by using a meter that can measure the level of sugar in blood. Blood can be taken from the finger.
  • Healthy eating and monitoring carbohydrates.
  • Regular exercising, at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days of the week. There is ongoing research for new treatments for Type 1 diabetes, such as pancreas, islet cell and stem cell transplant.

8 Type 2 diabetes prevention

Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by:

  • Eating a healthy diet low in fat and calories which includes fruits, vegetables.
  • Exercising frequently
  • Losing excess weight

9 Lifestyle and coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with type 2 diabetes.

Managing diabetes requires a lot of effort and time and this can prove to be very stressful, especially in the beginning. If it is not managed properly, it can result in changes in behavior such as irritability.

People with diabetes are at an increased risk of having depression and diabetes-related distress. It is for this reason that many diabetic specialists regularly include a psychologist or social worker as part of their diabetic team. Joining a support group can be very helpful for patients with type 2 diabetes.

It is very important for patients with diabetes to follow round-the-clock treatment to prevent the development of serious and life-threatening complications.

The following tips can be helpful:

  • Taking medications as recommended.
  • Wearing a tag that shows a person has diabetes.
  • Having yearly physical and regular eye exams.
  • Being up to date with immunizations since diabetes can weaken the immune system.
  • Paying special attention to the feet to check for sores, cracks, blisters or cuts.
  • Keeping blood pressure and blood cholesterol under control
  • Quit smoking and avoiding excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Avoiding prolonged exposure to stress, since stress can prevent insulin from functioning properly.

10 Can you drink tea if you have type 2 diabetes?

A warm cup of tea or coffee is perfect in the morning to prepare yourself to wage a battle against your daily challenges.

Can you expect the same when you are fighting against the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes? The big question about caffeine consumption with Type 2 diabetes has been addressed by a few studies.

These recent studies say 3 cups of tea a day can markedly reduce your risk of diabetes. 

Research concludes:

  • Tea is a rich source of polyphenols, the antioxidant substances which inhibit the activity of the enzymes that bring blood-glucose levels up. The study which analyzed the tea extracts also reveals these polyphenols have considerable activity against the enzymes alpha amylase and alpha glucosidase.
  • Flavonoids, another class of antioxidants found in tea, may help to reduce body’s inflammatory response, limit blood clotting inside the blood vessels, and maintain proper functioning of the blood vessels.
  • The reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes may also be linked to caffeine present in tea and coffee.

Points to Remember

  • Do not have more than 3 or 4 cups of tea or coffee to reduce the consumption of extra caffeine.
  • If your blood glucose level is very high, avoid sugar in the tea. Rather use some approved sugar substitutes. Remember some sugar substituents that contain aspartame may cause harm if you have a deficiency of certain enzymes in your body.

11 Risks and complications

There are several risks and complications associated with type 2 diabetes.

Risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include:

  • A family history of diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Reduced physical activity
  • Being of African-american, Asian, Hispanic or Native-american descent.

Complications of type 2 diabetes usually occur due to poor or lack of treatment to control the level of sugar in the blood. Some of the complications include:

  • Eye damage which can lead to cataracts or retinopathy or blindness.
  • Foot damage due to nerve damage or poor blood supply to the foot.
  • Skin conditions caused by fungal or bacterial infections.
  • Kidney damage (nephropathy) as a result of damage of the tiny blood vessel clusters in the kidneys that normally filter waste from the blood.
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy) occurs due to the damage of the vessels that nourish the nerves.
  • Heart and vessel damage which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and heart disease.

12 Type 2 diabetes news

Numerous studies are being conducted throughout the world to understand the causes of Type 2 diabetes, control the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes, and find a cure for the condition. Among them, here are the Most Recent Top 5 Studies that have shed light on various aspects of the condition.

Air pollution could increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes

This latest study led by the University of Southern California has put forward a new cause for the development of Type 2 diabetes symptoms in Latino kids. Air pollution, which may seem like an improbable cause for the condition, is found to make obese Latino children more prone to develop Type 2 diabetes symptoms. According to one of the authors of the study, exposure to polluted air causes the beta cells of the pancreases, which secretes the hormone insulin, to perform less efficiently.

In addition, the author also stressed that air pollution may be the cause of both obesity and Type 2 diabetes through different mechanisms. The researchers urge taking precautionary measures to reduce exposure to the polluted air. The first study showing such link, this has surely created waves in the medical fraternity and other concerned health professionals to dig further into this apparently unlikely connection.

Sitting for long hours does not increase the risk of diabetes

Physical inactivity and prolonged sitting have long been recognized as the most influential factors for the development of Type 2 diabetes. This 2017 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine rules out sitting as the cause for Type 2 diabetes.

While prolonged sitting has been compared with smoking for its negative health impacts, this study takes into account various other factors that accompany sitting. Some of the these include TV sitting, regular snacking and exposure to unhealthy food advertisements.

Type 2 diabetes could be an early indicator of pancreatic cancer

This research presented at the European Cancer Congress 2017 suggests an onset or deterioration of Type 2 diabetes symptoms could be indicating something as deadly as pancreatic cancer. According to the research, patients who switched to injectable insulin to address the rapidly deteriorating Type 2 diabetes symptoms were seven times more likely to have a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

It is a well-known fact that pancreatic cancer is a very lethal condition with high mortality rates. Most cases have their diagnosis confirmed at later stages, thus making the treatment even more complex. Therefore, the researchers urge all doctors and patients to closely watch the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes and take appropriate actions in a timely manner.

They also expressed their concern towards the discovery of a more effective method for the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

We are over-treating Type 2 Diabetes and we should stop this, say researchers

According to the National Academy of Medicine, Americans spend an estimated $750 billion on healthcare that is wasted. One fifth of this total amount is due to overuse of medications. While over-treatment of many other health conditions causes such huge financial losses, Type 2 diabetes deserves special mention here.

It is because a lot of medications, money, and cost is poured to control the blood glucose level of those patients. The standard of care for patients having Type 2 diabetes symptoms aims to achieve an intensive blood glucose control. On the contrary, evidence shows such intensive blood glucose control is only partially beneficial to the patients. Therefore, the researchers urge for an evidence-based approach to avoid overspending on Type 2 diabetes.

Is metformin is the best first-line drug for Type 2 diabetes?

A number of new diabetes pills are making their way into the market after FDA approval. Nonetheless, metformin still tops the list of probable diabetes pills that are used to treat the symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. The guideline from American College of Physicians (ACP) is also supported by The American Academy of Family Physicians.

What makes metformin the best choice is its cost, effectiveness and fewer incidence of side effects. According to the president of ACP, metformin is beneficial in two ways, firstly it helps to control the Type 2 diabetes symptoms and secondly, recent studies have shown that it may also promote weight loss. Since obesity is a well-recognized cause of Type 2 diabetes, the added benefit of metformin further cements its seat at the top position.

13 Related Clinical Trials