Type 2 diabetes, formerly known as ‘maturity onset’ diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), develops when your body is unable to use the insulin produced by the pancreas to manage blood sugar levels, a condition known as insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for controlling blood sugar levels in your body. With type 2 diabetes, the cells in your body do not respond properly to normal levels of insulin, so your body, specifically the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, will need to produce more insulin than normal. Over time, the pancreas will not be able to keep up with the body’s increased demand; eventually failing to produce your body’s insulin needs which leads to both a problem of insulin resistance and lack of adequate insulin production at a later stage in the progression of the disease. Whether insulin is not working properly or whether your body does not produce enough insulin the result is the same: elevated blood sugar levels in the bloodstream.
Type 2 diabetes usually occur in people who are over 40 years of age, but recently has become very common in the younger people due to an unhealthy lifestyle and an increased number of young people who are overweight or obese.
Type 2 diabetes can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of the factors that can put you at risk are listed below:
• Being overweight
• Having a blood relative with diabetes
• Being of South Asian or African-Carribean origin
• Having had diabetes during pregnancy also known as Gestational Diabetes
• Women who have had a baby weighing more than 4 kg (9 pounds)
• Genetic predisposition
• Having been previously identified with impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) (pre-diabetes)
Can type 2 diabetes be cured?
At this time there is no cure for type 2 diabetes, however you can control your blood sugar level by sticking to your treatment and making lifestyle changes in your diet and physical activity.
People with type 2 diabetes can sometimes initially be managed with diet and lifestyle modifications alone. In most cases, however, medications that work in different ways will be needed in additional to these lifestyle modifications. It is not uncommon to see more than one drug used to manage this condition effectively. The main methods for treating type 2 diabetes are listed below:
• A healthy diet – low in sugar, low in fat and high in fiber
• Maintaining a healthy weight
• Regular exercise
• Good blood pressure control
• Medications – these work in different ways in the body to help lower blood sugar levels
• Insulin – often necessary in some people when the body cannot produce enough insulin to meet the body’s needs.
Your health care provider will discuss the treatment options with you, so you will work together to decide which most treatment is most suitable for you.