Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic diseases characterized by high blood sugar levels that result from insulin secretion, or its action, or both. Was first identified with “sweet urine” and excessive muscle loss. Patients with diabetes, have an absence of insufficient production or lack of response to insulin which causes hyperglycemia. Diabetes is a chronic condition meaning it will last a lifetime, although it can be controlled.
How does diabetes work?
When a person intakes food, it is broken down into a sugar called glucose. Glucose gives your body the energy it needs to work, but to use glucose as energy, your body needs insulin. People with type 2 diabetes, make insulin but either their pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body cannot use the insulin well enough. When this occurs it is called insulin resistance. When there is not enough insulin or the insulin is not used as it should be glucose or sugar cannot get into the body’s cells. Since your body’s cells can not use the glucose from the food as energy, the glucose stays in your blood, where it may cause serious problems.
Other problems that may come from the buildup of glucose in the blood include:
- Damage to the body– Overtime, high glucose levels in the blood can damage the nerves and small blood vessels of the eyes, kidneys, and heart leading to hardening of the arteries causing a heart attack and stroke.
- Dehydration– The buildup of sugar in the blood can cause an increase in urination, causing dehydration.
- Diabetic coma– Occurs when a person with type 2 diabetes becomes severely ill or dehydrated and cannot drink enough fluids to make up for the fluid loss.
What is Diabetes?
Fat & Diabetes
Who can get Type 2 Diabetes?
The following people are higher at risk for Type 2 diabetes diagnosis:
- Have a history of gestational diabetes
- Have a history of type 2 diabetes in their family
- Have prediabetes
- Have low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides
- Have high blood pressure
- Do not exercise
- Are obese or overweight
- Are over 45 years
- Are members of certain racial or ethnic groups including:
- African Americans
- Asian Americans/ Pacific Islanders
- Native Americans
Complications resulting from Type 2 Diabetes
When Type 2 diabetes is not properly controlled, serious or life threatening problems may occur, which may include:
- Retinopathy– It is essential to control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol to prevent eye disease from getting worse.
- Kidney damage– The longer you have diabetes, the greater you are at risk of kidney disease. Kidney damage can lead to kidney failure if not caught early.
- Poor blood circulation and nerve damage– Damage to the nerves and hardening of the arteries leads to worse sensation and poor blood circulation in the feet. This can lead to more infections and a higher risk of skin ulcers, which dramatically raise the risk of amputation. Damage to blood vessels can lead to a greater risk of stroke, heart attack, and peripheral artery disease. Damage to nerves can also lead to digestive problems, like nausea, vomiting , and diarrhea.