Put simply: Type 2 diabetes is an elevation in blood sugars that occurs when a sugar called glucose can’t get into your fat and muscles where it is needed. Elevated blood glucose damages the lining of blood vessels leading to a range of complications in various organs of the body.
The more complex story: Type 2 diabetes is rapidly becoming of the most common long-term disease in the world. The problem causing an elevation in the blood glucose levels occurs when there is a change in the shape of the insulin receptor. In the normal situation, the body produces a small chemical called insulin (key) whose purpose is to bind to a receptor (lock) on the surface of fat and muscle cells, opening a channel to allow glucose to enter those cells. In type 2 diabetes the shape of this receptor changes mostly as a consequence of weight gain around the stomach.
You are more likely to get type 2 diabetes if you are carrying weight around your belly. It is much more common in people from certain ethnic backgrounds like Indian, Middle Eastern, south-east Asian and populations from indigenous populations. In these groups rates of diabetes can approach 30% of the adult population. In Caucasian populations, the rates are more typically 10% of the adult population.
The most common symptoms are nothing at all. That’s part of the problem, the person feels ok but the damage is already occurring. Many people experience tiredness and fatigue and that is really noticed when you start to get sugars under more control. When the blood sugar levels are grossly elevated then people may notice excessive thirst and trips to the toilet to pass urine. This occurs as high blood sugars pass into the urine and with the sugar, goes water. To understand more about Type 2 diabetes signs and symptoms click the link.
Most people diagnosed are picked up by chance based on a high blood sugar noticed on routine testing. It is not the best way to test for diabetes and so more formal tests should be asked for. This is typically a glucose tolerance test or another test called an HbA1c. A glucose tolerance test involved a fasting blood test, 75g of glucose as a sugary drink followed by another test of blood sugar taken 2 hours later. For more in formation read How is Diabetes Diagnosed?
Ahh. The million-dollar question. The honest answer is yes it can be for some but that is not true for everybody. The sooner you start, the greater pancreatic function remains, the better your chances. Whether it is reversible or not does not change that fact improving your diet and exercise and using the right medication all lead to dramatic improvements. Fundamentally it is not diabetes that damages the body but high blood sugars. Most people manage their diabetes with the help a medical team and use medication. An outline to help understand more about how diabetes is treated? is very helpful.
The first thing to do once diagnosed is improve your knowledge. This is a disease that is not solved in the doctors' office but rather by making the right choices most of the time. Our understanding of diabetes and how to control it has improved dramatically and yet still most people with diabetes have not been given the tools or understanding to be involved in the management of their condition.
Type 2 Diabetes Program