What is type 2 diabetes?
- Type 2 diabetes is a difficulty in maintaining a normal blood glucose level. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn't produce enough insulin to function properly, or the body's cells don't react to insulin. This is known as insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1 diabetes, which occurs when the body doesn't produce any insulin at all.
What is the cause of type 2 diabetes?
- The pancreas does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level.
- The body is unable to use the insulin that is produced (insulin resistance).
Risk factors for type 2 diabetes:
A person is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they:
- Age - over 40 years old
- Weight - are overweight or obese
- Genetic - have a relative with the condition (linked to genetics)
- Genetic - are of South Asian, African-Caribbean or Middle Eastern origin (linked to genetics)
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes:
- Frequent urination (polyuria) often causing insufficient sleep
- Increased thirst (polydipsia) - dry mouth
- Increased hunger (polyphagia)
- Weight loss
- Blurred vision
Treatment and management:
Medical interventions with drugs and/or surgery:
- Regular exercise and a healthy diet will be recommended for the first line of treatment. If this is not effective in controlling blood glucose levels, a patient may need medicines to treat type 2 diabetes.
- Several different types of medicine, usually taken as tablets, are used to treat type 2 diabetes. A patient may need to take a combination of two or more medicines to control blood glucose levels.
- Metformin is often the first medicine recommended to treat type 2 diabetes. It works by reducing the amount of glucose that the liver releases into the bloodstream. It also makes the body's cells more responsive to insulin.
- If a person is overweight, it is likely that they will be prescribed metformin. However, it can sometimes cause mild side effects, such as nausea and diarrhoea.
- Sometimes patients may require insulin therapy if the above measures do not work. This will involve regular glucose monitoring.
- Diabetics should eat a healthy diet that is rich in complex carbohydrates (such as rice and pasta), high in fibre, fruit and vegetables and low in animal and saturated fat, salt and sugar. A healthy diet will help to stabilise blood glucose levels. A patient should check their blood glucose levels regularly so they can make appropriate dietary adjustments.
- Physical activity increases energy demands and reduces blood glucose levels and the need for insulin to facilitate the conversion of glucose to glycogen in liver and muscle tissues. It is very important to exercise regularly if a person has diabetes. They should aim to do atleast 150 minutes (2 hours 30…