Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition in which a person’s body becomes resistant to the normal effects of insulin and/or they gradually lose the capacity to produce enough insulin1. Insulin is produced by the pancreas which is an organ below and behind the stomach2. Insulin moves glucose into the cells to be stored and used for energy.
What causes type 2 diabetes?
It isn’t known what causes type 2 diabetes but it is associated with changeable lifestyle risk factors. Type 2 diabetes also has strong genetic and family related risk factors. If you have family members who have developed type 2 diabetes and your lifestyle includes risks associated with the development of type 2 diabetes, you have a high likelihood of developing it.
Type 2 diabetes develops over a long period of time, often; years. During this period insulin resistance starts, where the insulin is increasingly ineffective at managing the blood glucose levels. As a result of this insulin resistance, the pancreas responds by producing greater and greater amounts of insulin, to try and achieve some degree of management of the blood glucose levels.
As insulin overproduction occurs over a very long period of time, the insulin producing cells in the pancreas wear themselves out, so that by the time someone is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they have lost 50 – 70% of their insulin producing cells. This means type 2 diabetes is a combination of ineffective insulin and not enough insulin.
Initially, type 2 diabetes can often be managed with healthy eating and regular physical activity. Over time most people with type 2 diabetes will also need medication and many will eventually require insulin. It is important to note that this is the natural progression of the condition, and taking medication or insulin as soon as they are required can result in fewer long-term complications.
Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes2
- family history
- a low level of physical activity
- poor diet
- excess weight around the waist
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes2
Many people with type 2 diabetes do not experience any symptoms at first. If they do have symptoms, these may include:
- being very thirsty
- passing more urine
- feeling tired
- feeling hungry
- having cuts that heal slowly
Over time, diabetes can lead to complications, which can then cause other symptoms.
Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis
If your doctor suspects you have diabetes, you will probably need to have a blood test to check your glucose level.
If you would like assistance modifying your lifestyle to reduce your chance of developing type 2 diabetes your EAP can help. To make an appointment call 1800 629 277 or email email@example.com