Type 2 Diabetes (Adult Onset Diabetes): Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, is a long-term metabolic disorder that is characterized by high blood sugar, insulin resistance, and relative lack of insulin. Type 2 diabetes affects the way the body produces blood sugar or glucose. It is a lifelong disease.

Adult-onset diabetes occurs as a result of obesity and lack of exercise while some people are more genetically at risk than others. Type 2 diabetes makes about 90% of cases of diabetes, with the other 10% due primarily to diabetes mellitus type 1 and gestational diabetes.

As of 2015, there were about 392 million people diagnosed with the disease compared to around 30 million in 1985. Adult-onset diabetes begins in middle or older age, although rates of type 2 diabetes are increasing in young people and are associated with a ten-year-shorter life expectancy.

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How Does Type 2 Diabetes Affect Your Body?

In type 2 diabetes, the muscles and liver begin to lose their sensitivity to the hormone insulin, a condition known as insulin resistance. The pancreas responds to the body’s insulin resistance by churning out even more of the hormone. The excess blood sugar in diabetes can cause harm to blood vessels all over the body and cause complications. It can severely also damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves, and other organs and also cause sexual problems. It also doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke.

What Are The Causes of Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Lifestyle – Factors important to the development of Adult Onset Diabetes, include obesity and being overweight, lack of physical activity, poor diet, stress, and urbanization.
  • Dietary factors – Consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks in excess with saturated fats and trans fatty acids increasing the risk also causes type 2 diabetes.
  • Genetics – Most cases involve many genes, with each being a small contributor to an increased probability of becoming a type 2 diabetic. If an identical twin has diabetes, the chance of the other developing diabetes within his lifetime is greater than 90%, while the rate for non-identical siblings is 25–50%. As of 2011, more than 36 genes had been found that contribute to getting Adult Onset Diabetes.

What Are The Risk Factors of Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Weight – Overweight or obese people are at a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
  • Inactivity – Lack of exercise increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Physical activity like running, walking helps control weight, uses up glucose as energy and makes cells more sensitive to insulin.
  • Family history – The chances of Adult Onset Diabetes is increased if your parent or sibling has it.
  • Age – The risk of type 2 diabetes increases with age especially after 45 years of age. However, younger children are now at a risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Prediabetes – Prediabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. If left untreated, prediabetes often progresses to Adult Onset Diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes – If one has gestational diabetes when they were pregnant, the risk of developing type 2 diabetes increases.
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome – For women, having polycystic ovarian syndrome increases the risk of diabetes.
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What Are The Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Increased thirst and frequent urination – Excess sugar building up in the bloodstream causes fluid to be pulled from the tissues. This may leave one thirsty and as a result, drinking more water can cause frequent urination.
  • Increased hunger – Without enough insulin to move sugar into the cells, the muscles and organs become depleted of energy which triggers intense hunger.
  • Weight loss – Even after increased hunger, without the ability to metabolize glucose, the body uses alternative fuels stored in muscle and fat. As a result, calories as excess glucose are lost and released in the urine.
  • Fatigue – When cells are deprived of sugar, you may become tired and irritable.
  • Blurred vision – When blood sugar level is too high, fluid may be pulled from the lenses of your eyes which may affect your ability to focus.
  • Frequent infections – Type 2 diabetes affects the body’s ability to heal and resist infections.
  • Areas of darkened skin – Some people with Adult Onset Diabetes have patches of dark, velvety skin in the folds and creases of their bodies called acanthosis nigricans which may be a sign of insulin resistance.
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How Is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?

  • Glycated haemoglobin (A1C) test – Glycated haemoglobin blood test indicates the average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Higher blood sugar levels mean more haemoglobin you’ll have with sugar attached. A result between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes while normal levels are below 5.7 percent.
  • Random blood sugar test – In this test a blood sample will be taken at a random time, regardless of when you last ate. The level of random blood sugar of 200 mg/dL or higher suggests diabetes.
  • Fasting blood sugar test – A fasting blood sugar taken after an overnight fast, which is at a level less than 100 mg/dL is normal but if it is 126 mg/dL or higher on two separate tests, you have diabetes.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test – After the fasting blood sugar is measured, a sugary liquid is made to drink and blood sugar levels are tested periodically for the next two hours.
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How To Prevent And Control Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Eat food which is lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber such as, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Regular exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day can prevent the risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Lose the excess weight by eating healthy food and exercising.

Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes- Allopathic Treatment

Medications used include:

  • Metformin (Glumetza, others) – It is the first medication prescribed for type 2 diabetes which works by improving the sensitivity of the body tissues to insulin so that the body uses insulin more
  • Sulfonylureas – These medications include glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase), glipizide (Glucotrol) and glimepiride (Amaryl) which help the body secrete more insulin.
  • Meglitinide – This work like sulfonylurea by stimulating the pancreas to secrete more insulin, but is faster acting, and the duration of the effect in the body is shorter. Meglitinide includes repaglinide (Prandin) and nateglinide (Starlix).
  • Thiazolidinediones – These medications make the body’s tissues more sensitive to insulin and include rosiglitazone (Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos).
  • DPP-4 inhibitors – These inhibitors help reduce blood sugar levels but tend to have a modest effect. They don’t cause weight gain and include sitagliptin (Januvia), saxagliptin (Onglyza) and linagliptin (Tradjenta).
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists – These slow digestion and help lower blood sugar levels. Their use is often associated with some weight loss and includes exenatide (Byetta) and liraglutide (Victoza).
  • SGLT2 inhibitors – These are the newest diabetes drugs and mainly work by preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing sugar into the blood. These include canagliflozin and dapagliflozin (Farxiga).
  • Insulin therapy – Some people who have Adult Onset Diabetes need insulin therapy as well via injection. There are many types of insulin which need to be taken on the basis of certain factors including aspects of health.
  • Bariatric surgery – In people with type 2 diabetes and mass index (BMI) over 35, may require weight-loss surgery (bariatric surgery).

Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes- Homeopathic Treatment

The commonly used homeopathic medicine are uranium nitricum, phosphoric acid, Syzygium jambolanum, Gymnema Sylvestre, and cephalandra indica. These medicines could reduce the level of sugar in the blood.

Type 2 Diabetes – Lifestyle Tips

  • Take your medications regularly, at a regular interval of time.
  • Eat healthy nutritional food rich in fiber and unsaturated fat like fruits, vegetables.
  • Make a habit of exercising every day for at least 30 minutes.
  • Quit smoking and try to drink a moderate amount of alcohol.

What Are The Recommended Exercises For a Person With Type 2 Diabetes?

  • Walking for 150 minutes at least 3 times every week.
  • Short laps when swimming for 10 to 30 minutes.
  • Other aerobic exercises like bicycling, running can be helpful along with yoga for 30 minutes a day.

Type 2 Diabetes & Pregnancy – Things to Know

  • Pregnant women with type 2 diabetes need to be cautious and maintain blood-sugar level.
  • High level of blood sugar can lead to pre-term labor, stillbirth and other developmental problems in the baby.
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications are not allowed to use during such a condition.
  • Usually, insulin therapy is recommended for women with Adult Onset Diabetes while other treatments start after delivery.
  • Breastfeeding can help you lower weight and it will also bring the insulin level back to normal.

Common Complications Related to Type 2 Diabetes

  • Cardiovascular disease, including ischemic heart disease and stroke
  • Non-traumatic blindness
  • Kidney failure
  • Cognitive dysfunction and dementia
  • Acanthosis nigricans
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Frequent infections

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