Over 10% of Americans have diabetes, with more than 90% of those accounting for type 2. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease, characterized by the body being unable to properly process glucose and causing it to build up in the bloodstream.
If it is left unmanaged, it can lead to significant health problems such as heart disease and stroke. Let’s talk about what type 2 diabetes is, what tends to cause it, and what its symptoms typically are.
What Is Type 2 Diabetes?
When you eat, food is broken down into glucose (a form of sugar) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas produces a hormone called insulin, which helps transport the glucose from your bloodstream to the cells where it is then used for energy.
Diabetes affects how the body uses glucose. People with type 2 diabetes produce insulin, but they either do not produce enough, or the body’s cells are resistant to the utilization of insulin (insulin resistance) – so the glucose remains in the bloodstream. This causes hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which must be monitored and controlled by the patient.
Common Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
Often, people have prediabetes before they develop type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are elevated, but are not high enough to meet the criteria for type 2 diabetes. A diagnosis of prediabetes means that you are likely to develop diabetes and may already have some symptoms and health effects.
Type 2 diabetes is often caused or exacerbated by a combination of factors, including lack of exercise, poor diet, and obesity, combined with an underlying genetic risk for the disease. Risk factors can include:
- Family history of type 2 diabetes
- Being age 40 or over
- Being overweight or obese (particularly with extra weight around the waist)
- Ethnicity: Hispanic, Native American, African American, or Pacific Islander descent
- High blood pressure
- Low HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) or high HDL (bad cholesterol)
- History of gestational diabetes (or having a baby weight >9 lbs at birth)
- Poor lifestyle (smoking, high-calorie diet, lack of physical activity)
Type 2 diabetes most frequently develops in people who are over the age of 40 and are overweight. However, in recent years there has been an increase in children, teenagers, and young adults developing type 2 diabetes. This increase has been partially attributed to a climb in childhood obesity levels.
What Are the Symptoms?
Most people with prediabetes do not have any symptoms, and those with type 2 diabetes may produce mild symptoms. These signs may go unnoticed, as they often develop gradually when blood sugar levels become high. Symptoms may even take years to develop significantly enough to be noticed.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:
- Frequent urination
- Extreme thirst and dry mouth
- Excessive hunger
- Weight loss (without trying)
- Wounds that are slow to heal
- Numbness or tingling in the hands and/or feet
- Loss of vision/blurry vision
- Dark sections of skin on the neck or armpits
Holistic Management for Diabetes in Raleigh, NC
If you have been diagnosed as prediabetic or with type 2 diabetes, PAI Wellness Group can help. We specialize in holistic diabetes management and can offer an individualized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Our treatments include nutraceutical supplements and customized meal plans that you’ll actually enjoy, so you can get healthy without feeling deprived.
To find out about our prediabetes and type 2 diabetes services, contact us today by calling (919) 529-3355 or use our convenient online appointment request form. We look forward to partnering with you in a new, refreshing lifestyle of total health and wellness.