Quick Facts About Type 2 Diabetes
In Type 2 diabetes, cells that normally respond to insulin lose their sensitivity and fail to respond normally. This insulin resistance is overcome for many years by extra insulin production. Eventually, insulin secretion fails and the blood glucose levels rise to diabetic levels.
- Type 2 diabetes usually appears in middle age or later, but is becoming increasingly common in younger people, including children.
- Even the usual 20-30 pound weight gain that most Americans experience during adult life greatly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The risk is greatly worsened by the development of obesity and physical inactivity.
- Type 2 diabetes is the more common form of diabetes and is one of the most common chronic diseases in the world.
- 150,000 new cases of Type 2 diabetes develop each year. More than 12% of the adult population over 45 have Type 2 diabetes: a total of 16 million people in the United States.
- About one third of those with Type 2 diabetes have not been diagnosed and do not know they have diabetes.
- Approximately 20 million people have an abnormal response to glucose. Many of these will develop Type 2 diabetes. Some estimates of the potential number of diabetics are as high as 36 million or 25-30% of the adult population over 45 years.
- Predisposition to Type 2 diabetes is genetic.
Living with Type 2 Diabetes
- Controlling blood sugar is not easy, however, many cases of Type 2 diabetes can be controlled by diet, improved physical conditioning, and, especially, reduced body weight.
- Maintaining control of sugar levels diminishes the likelihood of suffering from many of the complications of diabetes, but doing so requires constant vigilance.
- Drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes include some that act to reduce glucose absorption from the gut or glucose production by the liver and others that stimulate the beta cells directly to produce more insulin.
- High blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels usually accompany Type 2 diabetes. These conditions, together with high blood sugar, increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, and circulatory blockages in the legs leading to amputation.
- High levels of glucose are toxic to beta cells, causing a progressive decline their function and cell death. Consequently, many patients with type 2 diabetes eventually need insulin.
The early symptoms of Type 2 diabetes are rarely obvious, making many diabetics unaware of the disease or its progression.
Type 2 Diabetes Research