Yesterday I discussed insulin and glucose, so today I thought I’d check out a condition that can result from not controlling insulin levels-type 2 diabetes. Since the 50’s diabetes rates have increased six-fold. Approximately 20.8 million Americans have diabetes (1/3 of them don’t even know that they have the disease). Diabetes-related health care costs are nearly $100 billion per year and are increasing! There are three different types of diabetes:
- type 1-a lack of insulin. Only 10% of diabetics
- type 2-body does not respond or can’t use its own insulin. About 90 to 95% of diabetics
- gestational diabetes: similar to type 2, occurs in pregnant women
Today I’m going to focus on type 2 because it’s the one that occurs the most often and the most preventable. What are some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
- Extreme hunger or constant eating: insulin resistance causes high blood-glucose levels after a meal. Because the body doesn’t respond to insulin, the cells do not absorb glucose from the bloodstream, which causes high blood-glucose levels. Because cells have no glucose coming into them from your blood, your body ‘thinks’ that it is starving.
- Presence of glucose in the urine: high blood glucose causes glucose to appear in the urine. The amount of glucose filtered exceeds the amount that your kidneys can reabsorb.
- Frequent urination: high blood glucose increases the amount of glucose filtered by the kidneys. Glucose remains tubule lumen and retains water, increasing urine flow, which causes more frequent urination
- Excessive thirst: High blood glucose levels increase osmotic pressure of the blood and stimulates the first receptors in the brain.
- Fatigue: feel tired because cells cannot absorb glucose, leaving them with nothing to burn for energy.
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities, changes in visions, slow-healing wounds, and abnormally high frequency of infection: high blood glucose increases osmotic pressure of the blood, which draws water from tissues and makes them dehydrated. The water in the blood gets lost by the kidneys as urine, which decreases blood volume, which makes the blood thicker and more resistant to flow=poor circulation. This poor circulation can cause numbness in the hands and feet, changes in vision, slowing-healing wounds and frequent infections.
There is no cure for diabetes, although it can be treated and managed successfully. Risk factors for acquiring diabetes are:
- Weight: being overweight is the primary risk factor. The more fatty tissues, the more resistant the cells become to insulin
- Inactivity: physical activity helps control weight, use up glucose as energy, and makes cells more sensitive to insulin
- Family history: I think that this has more to do with lifestyle; most develop their eating habits from their families (so I think they just inherit bad eating skills).
Like I’ve said there is no cure, but the best way to prevent diabetes is through weight loss (duh, since the biggest risk factor is being overweight). Don’t want to get diabetes? Develop an eating lifestyle that controls insulin levels and stay active-it’s so simple!