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Type 2 Diabetes: Causes and Symptoms

As American lifestyles have changed, occurrences of type 2, or late onset, diabetes have become more common. Today we’ll be looking at some of the most common causes of type 2 diabetes, its symptoms, and treatments that are designed to manage the condition. If you feel as though you may have diabetes, speak to your doctor for a full test.

Type 2 Diabetes

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that refers to the way that your body processes (or doesn’t process) sugar. Diabetes is caused by your body’s own resistance to insulin, a compound meant to help your cells process glucose. Occasionally, the condition occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin on its own.

While type 2 diabetes was once referred to as “adult-onset” diabetes, this is no longer an accurate description, as children can be diagnosed with the condition as well. This is likely due to changing lifestyles in the developed world, such as the rise in childhood obesity and poor diets among some children and families.

Symptoms

Symptoms of diabetes include increased thirst, increased hunger, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, slow healing of wounds, blurry vision and frequent infections. If you suffer from some of these symptoms, it could be wise to visit your doctor to do some tests and see if you’re suffering from diabetes.

Contrast to Type 1

Type 2 diabetes is contrasted with type 1 diabetes, which is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In type 1 cases, the culprit of the symptoms is the pancreas: the pancreas fails to produce the correct levels of insulin in type 1 patients, due to auto-immune cells destroying important beta cells in the pancreas.

Type 1 was once known as “juvenile onset” diabetes, but this is also inaccurate. There are currently more adults diagnosed with type 1 diabetes than children. Type 1 diabetes, however, is much less common than type 2: only between five and ten percent of all cases of diabetes are type 1.

Genetics

The most common factors in the onset of type 2 diabetes are lifestyle and genetic predisposition. One of the biggest things we’ve learned in recent years about type 2 diabetes is that you can inherit a high likelihood of developing the condition from your parents.

This doesn’t mean that if your mom or dad had type 2 diabetes that you’re guaranteed to develop it, it just means that you’ll be at a higher likelihood of doing so based on your lifestyle. This makes lifestyle incredibly important for people with a genetic predisposition to the disease.

Diet and Exercise

From a lifestyle standpoint, the biggest cause of diabetes comes from diet and exercise. A lack of meaningful exercise is often connected to the onset of type 2 diabetes, and people with a genetic predisposition are more likely to develop the condition if they don’t work out often.

Diet is just as important as exercise, too: people with high-fat, high-sugar diets that are more overweight are more likely to develop diabetes. Notably, diets that are too low in fiber are some of the most common diets among people who develop type 2 diabetes.

Treatments

There’s no cure for diabetes. People living with the condition simply have to make a number of lifestyle changes to accommodate their symptoms. For instance, it’s common for sufferers to have insulin pumps to help manage their body’s insulin levels. Monitoring their blood sugar levels is very important, as well.

Diet and exercise can be important factors in managing the condition, as well. While nothing can fully cure diabetes, being in good physical shape and eating healthy foods make managing diabetes symptoms significantly easier.

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