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Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition in which the body cannot use food for energy properly.

Normally, the pancreas produces insulin (a hormone) to help your cells use glucose (sugar) from food. In diabetes, either the pancreas cannot make enough insulin, or the cells do not respond correctly to insulin. The unused sugar accumulates in the blood, disturbs the normal functioning of organs, and negatively affects general health.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes. About 1 in 10 Americans have this condition. It is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. 

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Frequent urination and increased urine volume
  • Excessive thirst and drinking of large amounts of fluids.
  • Dryness of the mucous membrane of the mouth.
  • Blurred vision and dizziness.
  • Increased hunger.
  • Skin abscesses on any part of the body, slow-healing wounds.
  • Insomnia and fatigue.
  • Reduced productivity.
  • Unexplained weight loss or obesity.
  • Frequent infectious diseases.

Only a doctor can distinguish the difference in symptoms between type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. A prolonged course of the disease often causes additional symptoms associated with complications. 

Who is at Risk of Developing Type 2 Diabetes?

  • African American, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
  • People aged 45 and over.
  • People who are overweight or obese.
  • People with low levels of physical activity.
  • People with a family history of diabetes.
  • People with chronic high blood pressure.
  • People with prediabetes (higher than normal blood sugar, though not high enough to be Type 2 diabetes).

Causes of Type 2 Diabetes

The most common cause of type 2 diabetes is a combination of excessive body weight and genetic predisposition. These factors are responsible for most diabetes cases. However, a person can have a small amount of excess fat, but it accumulates mainly around the waist. The genetic risk is calculated individually, based on a person’s gene variants and the presence of close relatives with diabetes.

The Link Between Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes

In most cases, visceral fat is considered to be the culprit in type 2 diabetes. It accumulates in the body when a person consumes more calories than their body burns for energy. The unused energy is converted into the body's fat reserves, that is, into the subcutaneous fat and the visceral fat.

The visceral (abdominal) type of fat accumulation can pose serious health risks. However, the body needs a small amount of fat as it has important mechanical properties, serving to protect internal organs. Also, the depot of visceral fat can be used in case of energy depletion. But having excess body fat is a real health concern. It stores underneath the serous membrane, a thin membrane that lines the internal body cavities and organs. In most people, visceral fat surrounds the organs in the abdominal cavity. The characteristic feature of this condition is a protruding stomach, which is disproportionately large compared to other parts of the body. Under normal conditions, the amount of visceral fat should not exceed 15% of the person's overall body fat.

Visceral fat directly affects cells' sensitivity to insulin. As a result, the person develops insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. 

Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes

Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is often diagnosed through blood tests (the blood test is taken from a vein). The results are usually available within 2 days. 

Diabetes Tests

  • The A1C test, also known as glycated hemoglobin. It measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 2 to 3 months.
  • Fasting plasma glucose. It checks your fasting blood sugar level. For this test, you will need to fast for 8 hours before the test. You should drink only water.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). It checks your blood sugar levels before and two hours after you drink a special sweet drink.

In 2017, American researchers discovered remission of type 2 diabetes that was previously thought impossible. It is not yet clear whether all diabetic patients can go into remission. Researchers from all over the globe are devoted to making new discoveries in this area.

Lake Conway doctors help their patients to maintain healthy body weight and keep their blood sugar levels on track.

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