With so many people now leading increasingly sedentary lifestyles, topped off with copious amounts of unhealthy junk food and not nearly enough exercise and healthy eating, it’s no wonder why we’re in the midst of an obesity epidemic that only looks set to get worse before it can possibly get better. Statistically, the human race is fatter now than at any other point in previous history, and not surprisingly, life expectancies are on a steep decline as a result. When you consider just how far we’ve advanced, both technologically and medicinally, the fact that we’re actually living shorter lives instead of longer ones is pretty mind-boggling and incredibly worrying. With being obese, not only do you have to content with feeling unattractive and self conscious, but more worrying still, you also have to contend with the multiple health conditions that arise as a result of an individual being obese in the first place. Conditions such as: hypertension, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, and IBS have all been linked to obesity, yet there is one condition that is proving to be incredibly worrying and is already spreading throughout the world to near pandemic levels. That condition is question, is type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes has been heavily linked to a wide range of various health conditions and medical issues, and doctors are actually now more concerned with that very condition, than they are with heart disease. In this article, we’ll be learning more about type 2 diabetes including: what it is, how it is caused, how it can be treated, and whether or not it can be reversed. So, without any further ado, let’s learn more about type 2 diabetes.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a very serious condition that is affecting more people in the world now, than ever before. In basic terms, with type 2 diabetes, a person’s blood sugar levels increase and become far too high, posing a significant health risk to the individual in question. There are actually two different forms of diabetes – type 1 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes. It is type 2 diabetes however, that health experts are most concerned with, as that is often a result of poor dietary and lifestyle choices. Type 2 diabetes occurs as a result of a person’s body no longer being able to produce enough insulin for it to be effective, or simply when the body builds up a natural insulin resistance. Insulin is secreted via the pancreas and is a hormone which is primarily responsible for controlling and regulating our blood sugar levels. This basically means that, rather than being used as an energy source, glucose instead remains in the blood. Often, having high blood sugar levels will leave a person feeling tired and thirsty, and having to urinate far more frequently than they should be.
How can type 2 diabetes affect the body?
There are a number of different ways in which type 2 diabetes can affect the body, none of which are particularly pleasant or safe. When a person finds that their glucose levels are building up within their blood, instead of being transported into their cells, not surprisingly, their cells will begin to function inefficiently. On top of that, other common side effects associated with type 2 diabetes include the following:
Damage to the organs and body – Gradually, high blood sugar levels have been found to cause significant damage to the nerves in the body, and are also far more likely to put a person at an increased risk of a condition known as atherosclerosis, which is basically a significant narrowing of the arteries which then puts a person in danger of suffering from conditions such as a heart attack or stroke. On top of that, other sensory and major organs are also at risk of being serious damaged, particularly the kidneys and the eyes as well.
Severe dehydration – When a person has heightened blood sugar levels, glucose levels in the urine can also be increased as the kidneys will not be able to properly filter out this excess glucose. This is especially dangerous as the sugar within the urine can actually draw out water with it, so when you to urinate, you are losing vital water and fluids. This is why you often need to urinate more frequently when you suffer from type 2 diabetes. So, not only do you urinate more frequently, which in itself can contribute towards dehydration, but on top of that, you also lose more fluids via the urine. This often results in dehydration which then damages the kidneys and causes a host of other health conditions in the process.
Diabetic coma – As if the above wasn’t bad enough, another very serious condition that could arise as a result of complications of type 2 diabetes, is what is known as a diabetic coma. This results when an individual is so dehydrated that they aren’t able to drink enough fluids to replace those lost, and then slip into a coma, which has the potential to be fatal.
What are some of the main symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
There are a number of symptoms and warning signs associated with type 2 diabetes, and although we listed a few of the main ones a little earlier on, it’s now time to take a more in-depth look at some of the main signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for. These include, but are not limited to:
• Frequent urination
• Extreme dry mouth
• Extreme thirst
• Increased hunger and appetite
• Trouble feeling full
• Weight loss (even when eating more than usual)
• Constant feelings of fatigue
• Blurry vision
• Recurring infections
• Loss of consciousness
• Slow healing of injuries
• Weight gain
• Tingling and numbness in the hands and/or feet
• Itchy skin
• Erectile dysfunction
What are the main causes of type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes, as previously mentioned, occurs as a result of the pancreas not being able to secrete enough insulin for it to be able to control and regulate blood sugar levels, or, when the body builds up a resistance to the insulin being secreted, making it ineffective. This is known as insulin resistance. Basically, the key role of insulin is to shuttle glucose sugar from the blood, into your cells to be used for energy production. However, there are a number of reasons why either: the pancreas is no longer able to secrete enough insulin, or the body is able to build up a natural resistance to the insulin in the first place. Type 2 diabetes can be heavily influenced by a number of different things, including:
Age – As you grow older, your chances of developing type 2 diabetes greatly increase. The main reason for this is the fact that, generally speaking, people tend to gain weight as they grow older and they become less active as well. generally speaking, people over the age of 40 are at the highest risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Diet – As mentioned, diabetes occurs as a result of complications with insulin secretion and resistance. Insulin is secreted to help regulate sugar levels within the blood, so consuming foods rich in simple sugars is far more likely to cause problems. This is largely down to the fact that, as the pancreas will be forced to work so hard, eventually it will simply break, or the body will be that used to the insulin, that it will build up a resistance. Unhealthy diets have been heavily linked with type 2 diabetes.
Weight – If a person is overweight or obese, they are much more likely to suffer from diabetes. This is because fat cells can secrete hormones which interfere with the body’s metabolic and cardiovascular systems.
Genetics – If you have a history of diabetes in your family, you are already far more likely to suffer from the condition, although that is certainly not guaranteed.
Can type 2 diabetes be reversed?
So, the million dollar question, can type 2 diabetes be reversed? In a word, Yes! The fantastic news is that, in some cases, type 2 diabetes can indeed be reversed, meaning that it is no longer classed as a lifelong disease, as it once was not too long ago. Studies have found that, people who have suffered with type 2 diabetes for around 4 years, or less, can actually reverse the condition by simply following a healthy lifestyle and losing weight so that their BMIs are considered healthy and average. The condition can be managed by keeping blood sugar levels healthy and balanced, by avoiding unhealthy and sugary foods that are likely to cause insulin spikes. Regular exercise is also highly beneficial, as is eating a healthy and balanced diet that is rich in vitamin, mineral, antioxidant, and nutrient-rich foods. Prescription medicine such as insulin injections, or metformin tablets, can also help regulate blood sugar levels. The bottom line however, is that, by exercising regularly, eating healthily, leading a healthy lifestyle, and getting down to a healthy weight, you are able to reverse type 2 diabetes, which is absolutely amazing.