What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which our body does not produce enough insulin or utilize insulin properly. Another name of type 2 diabetes is non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM).
What is prediabetes?
Usually, type 2 diabetes is preceded by prediabetes. Here, patient's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be defined as diabetes. It is important to sort out prediabetes, because, most people with prediabetes are likely develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years if adequate measures are not taken.
Causes of type 2 diabetes
A genetic factor may predispose a person to develop diabetes because it is usually seen to run in families. Other factors such as obesity or physical inactivity, will flare up the chances to develop this disease.
Symptoms of diabetes may vary. Most common presentations are:
Increased thirst and frequent urination.
Weight loss (in spite of eating more than usual)
Dry, itchy skin
Tingling or loss of feeling in the hands or feet Slow-healing sores or frequent infections
Darkened skin (patches of dark, velvety skin in the folds and creases of bodies)
Remember, type 2 diabetes may present without any symptoms at all!
People at risk
People age 45 or older
Family history of diabetes
African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians
History of gestational diabetes, or giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
Type 2 diabetes is easily ignored, especially in early stages when patient feel fine. By the time it is diagnosed, patient may have already developed complications of major organs like:
Heart and blood vessels: Cardiovascular complications like chest pain (angina), heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure are two to four times more common in people with diabetes.
Nervous system (neuropathy): It can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. For men, there may be chance of erectile dysfunction.
Kidney (nephropathy): In diabetes, the filtering capacity of kidney is lost which may lead to kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease.
Eye: Diabetes is one of the most common cause of blindness. There is also increased risk of cataracts and glaucoma in diabetic patients.
Foot: Diabetic foot develops as a result of nerve damage or reduced blood flow to the lower extremity. It is a very severe complication. If proper care is not taken, severe damage may lead to toe, foot or even leg amputation.
Skin and mouth: Diabetic patients often develop bacterial and fungal infections of skin and mouth.
How to diagnose
Random blood sugar test: A random blood sugar level of 200 mg/dL (11.1 mmol/L) or higher suggests diabetes.
Fasting blood sugar test: A blood glucose level of 126 mg/dL (7 mmol/L) or higher on two separate occasions indicates diabetes mellitus.
Oral glucose tolerance test
Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test: This blood test reflects average blood sugar level for the past two to three months of the patient.