According to the National Institute of Health, about 8% of Americans have Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. Type 2 Diabetes was previously referred to as Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) or Adult Onset Diabetes Mellitus (AODM). Because it mostly affected older adults. In some cases, the pancreas had worn out and become less effective, in other cases the patient developed a resistance to insulin.
Though many older Americans have Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, with the increasing epidemic of obesity, it has become more prevalent affecting younger and younger people including teenagers and even some children.
Until recently, many cases of Type 2 Diabetes went undiagnosed but recent attention to diabetes and the complications of obesity has reduced the prevalence of undiagnosed Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.
Pathophysiology of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 is a condition in which the body does not respond appropriately to insulin. Under normal conditions, insulin is produced by the pancreas in response to high blood sugar levels, also known as blood glucose. Insulin then acts as a carrier to transport glucose from the blood to the inside of cells where it can be used for energy.
With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, insulin is produced by the pancreas but does not work. Glucose stays in the bloodstream and is unavailable for use in the body’s cells. High glucose levels cause cellular damage in many organ systems.
Causes of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
Type 2 Diabetes is often caused partly by genetics. People whose parents, grandparents or siblings are diabetic will have a much higher chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Medical research has identified a specific genetic mutation that causes early development of a severe type of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, however over half of all type 2 diabetics are also obese.
Obese people have more abdominal fat around the internal organs. This extra adipose tissue is thought to send chemical messengers to body tissues which stop the activity of insulin and the transport of glucose into body cells.
Type 2 diabetics also have higher amounts of glucose stored in the liver, known as glycogen released into the blood system which decreases the amount of insulin produced by the pancreas. The increased rate of obesity in the United States and around the world has significantly increased the number of cases of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. Aging also contributes to the development of Type 2 Diabetes.
Persons with diabetes are more likely to have elevated cholesterol levels which will contribute to cardiac and blood vessel abnormalities such as high blood sugar and the development of atherosclerosis. A high fat diet and sedentary lifestyle may be a contributor to the development of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.
Symptoms of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
Symptoms of the development of NIDDM or Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 are similar to those of other types of diabetes and include excessive thirst, excessive hunger, increased urine production and extreme lethargy or tiredness. Some people may also experience blurred vision because high glucose levels can cause changes in the shape of the lenses of the eyes.
Occasionally, a sudden unexplained weight loss may indicate the onset of Type 2 Diabetes but most of these symptoms develop slowly and may go unnoticed. Regular blood sugar screening is essential in the prevention of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.
Complications of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
Long term complications of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 include eventual loss of eyesight, kidney function, cardiovascular function and blood vessels in the extremities (hands and feet) and a decreased ability to heal from infections. Diabetes is a known contributor to heart attack and stroke, both from high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Persons with diabetes may eventually lose kidney function leading to a need for dialysis. Diabetics are more likely to lose some vision and can eventually go blind. Because of poor circulation, 60% of amputations are caused by diabetes. Diabetes also causes diabetic neuropathy which leads to pain and loss of functioning in many areas of the body.
Diet for Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
People with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 often have a diet high in fat and sugar. Increased consumption of fatty and high sugar foods are thought to contribute to the development of diabetes. Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 can sometimes be controlled through weight loss. In some patients, blood sugar levels will return to normal once weight is reduced.
Others may be able to control blood sugar through eating more high protein and high fiber foods low in fat and sugar, known as a low glycemic diet. A low glycemic diet will help stabilize long term blood sugar levels and avoid large spikes in blood sugar that can occur after eating high sugar foods. A low glycemic diet may help avoid future complications of Type 2 Diabetes.