Type 2 diabetes mellitus is the most widespread form of the disease. It most often strikes those over 20 years of age. The pancreas is still functional, but the cells of the tissues and muscles become unresponsive or the pancreas can no longer manufacture enough insulin.
Obesity greatly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, but the exact cause is unclear. Most type 2 diabetics are overweight, but some are able to regulate it through improved diet, oral meds and physical activity.
Type 2 diabetics do not always notice symptoms, especially at first.
The root cause of type 2 diabetes is insulin resistance. This occurs when muscle, liver and fat cells struggle to use insulin efficiently to metabolize glucose, which is a form of energy for the cells. This causes the body to produce more insulin to compensate. Gradually, as insulin resistance worsens, the body becomes incapable of producing more insulin and blood glucose levels rise, which is what causes symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
There are a number of factors which cause insulin resistance. A major one is obesity. Those who are obese are significantly more likely to develop insulin resistance, but where they carry excess fat also influences the likelihood of type 2 diabetes. Those with lots of excess belly fat are particularly at risk.
There’s also a genetic factor to type 2 diabetes. Those with a family history of the disease are more likely to develop it themselves.
The goal is to maintain normal blood glucose levels.
There are no curative treatments for type 1 or type 2 diabetes mellitus. However, type 2 diabetes can be controlled using the aforementioned treatments and lifestyle changes. With a healthy diet, weight loss and doctor-approved exercise, in some cases type 2 diabetes medications are no longer necessary.
One of the best ways to prevent type 2 diabetes is to lose weight permanently, particularly if you tend to carry excess weight on your belly. Losing just 5 to 7% of your body weight could help to prevent or delay diabetes. However, striving for a healthy BMI is ideal, because it will also help to reduce your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
Exercise can be an effective tool for weight loss, but regular physical activity is also known to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Ideally, you should aim for 30 minutes of exercise five times each week, but those who are currently very sedentary should start at a lower rate of activity and gradually increase it.