- Diabetes type II is a chronic condition affecting insulin production and blood sugar regulation.
- Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, age, ethnicity, and family history can increase risk factors.
- Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to complications in the feet, eyes, heart, kidneys, and sexual function.
- Prevention and management include a balanced diet, regular exercise, medication, and consistent check-ups.
- Despite being a lifelong condition, type II diabetes can be effectively managed with proper lifestyle changes.
Diabetes type II is a chronic condition that affects millions of people all around the world. When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, it means that their body is unable to produce insulin or use it correctly properly. Insulin is a hormone needed to convert glucose from food intake into energy for the body. When it doesn’t work as it should, there is a build-up of sugar in the bloodstream, eventually leading to various complications. Here’s an in-depth look into the disease and what you can do to prevent or manage it.
Causes of Diabetes Type II
There is no single cause for type II diabetes, but there are certain factors that increase your risk. The most common risk factor is obesity, mainly when the excess weight is concentrated around the abdomen . Fat cells release chemicals that interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. Other risk factors include:
Lack of physical activity leads to insulin resistance and obesity , both of which increase the likelihood of developing type II diabetes. Physical activity helps control weight, uses sugar as energy, and makes cells more sensitive to insulin. Regular exercise is crucial in preventing or managing diabetes.
As you get older, your risk of developing diabetes increases. This could be because people exercise less frequently and gain more weight as they age. The body also becomes less efficient at using insulin with age.
If a close family member, like a parent or sibling, has type II diabetes, your risk is higher. Genetics plays a significant role in the development of this disease.
Studies show that people from certain ethnic groups are more likely to develop type II diabetes. This includes African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinos.
Women who have had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at a higher risk of developing type II diabetes later in life. The condition affects how the body processes sugar, and it usually goes away after giving birth. Still, these women are more likely to develop type II diabetes within 5-10 years.
How It Can Affect You
There are various ways diabetes type II can affect your health if not managed properly. Here are a few common complications:
1. Feet and Legs
One of the most common complications of type II diabetes is neuropathy or damage to nerves. One of the most common neuropathy symptoms is tingling, numbness, or burning sensations in the feet and legs. Over time, the condition can cause nerve damage, risking wounds that may not heal, leading to infections and even amputation. If you want to improve your mobility, you must get your nerves checked. A local neuropathy clinic can help determine if you have any nerve damage. They can check your reflexes, muscle strength, and sensitivity to touch. Based on the results of your examination, they can recommend appropriate treatments or lifestyle changes to help improve your sexual function.
Diabetes Type II can cause damage to the fine blood vessels in the retina, causing retinopathy . Those suffering from the condition may experience blurry vision, impaired color vision, and even blindness. It is vital to have regular eye checkups and to have medical intervention if any concerns arise.
3. Heart and Blood Vessels
High blood glucose levels and high levels of cholesterol and blood pressure can cause plaque build-up in the blood vessels, leading to various conditions such as coronary artery disease, stroke, or heart attack . When someone has type II diabetes, they are more likely to experience these conditions than those who do not.
The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and excess fluids from the blood. Diabetes Type II can cause kidney damage over time, leading to a condition known as diabetic kidney disease or nephropathy. If left untreated, this can lead to kidney failure.
5. Sexual Function
Diabetes Type II can also have an impact on sexual function. Men may experience erectile dysfunction, while women can experience vaginal dryness and reduced libido. This can be related to nerve damage, blood flow issues, and other factors contributing to the condition. However, proper management can help prevent or manage these symptoms effectively.
Prevention and Management
Although type II diabetes cannot be cured, it can be prevented or effectively managed through lifestyle changes and proper medical treatment. Here are a few things that can help:
Eating healthy is crucial in preventing or managing diabetes. You should aim for a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats . Avoid foods high in sugar, saturated fats, and salt.
Physical activity plays a significant role in controlling blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week.
If needed, your doctor may prescribe medication to help manage your blood sugar levels. It is essential to take these medications as directed and monitor your levels regularly.
It is vital to have regular checkups with your doctor or a healthcare professional who specializes in diabetes management. They can monitor your condition, adjust treatment if necessary, and provide guidance on how to prevent or manage any complications that may arise.
Diabetes type II is a chronic condition that requires lifelong management. However, with proper education, lifestyle changes, and medical treatment, it can be prevented or effectively managed to live a healthy life free of complications. If you are at risk for type II diabetes, it’s never too late to make positive changes and take control of your health. Remember to consult your healthcare provider and make informed decisions about your health.