Type 2 diabetes or hyperglycemia is a condition where there is high blood sugar than normal. The pancreas in the body does not produce sufficient insulin to metabolize the sugar in the blood in type 2 diabetes. This is called insulin resistance. These diabetes also known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes it is a chronic condition affecting the metabolism of sugar. Type 2 diabetes is more commonly seen in adults though children who are obese are at a high risk for this condition.
What are the Causes of Type 2 Diabetes
At first, the pancreas makes more insulin to metabolize the sugar, but eventually it loses its speed to produce insulin, thus leading to the buildup of sugar in the blood stream. There are a combination of causes that leads to type 2 diabetes. They are:
- Genes: Type 2 Diabetes is hereditary if you have the affected gene in your DNA passed on by your ancestors.
- Over-weight: Obesity causes insulin resistance affecting kids and teens, mainly because of childhood obesity.
- Metabolic syndrome: People with insulin resistance have other associated conditions such as high blood glucose, high blood pressure, extra fat around the waist, and high cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Faulty liver: Liver sends out glucose for energy when there is insufficient sugar in the blood. After a meal, when the sugar levels are restored in the blood, the liver generally stops sending the sugars. But a faulty liver will not sense food intake to stop sending the sugars, thus leading to excess sugar in the blood.
- Tampered communication between cells: If there is a problem in the communication of cells affecting how the cells make and use insulin, then it leads to a chain reaction ending in diabetes.
- Gestational diabetes
- Polycystic ovary syndrome
- Getting little or no exercise
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes is so mild that it goes unnoticed. Below are some of them:
- Being very thirsty: Excess sugar in the bloodstream causes fluids to be pulled from the tissues, thus leading to frequent feelings of thirst.
- Blurry vision: When blood sugar is too high, fluids are pulled out from the lenses of the eyes too, thus leading to blurred vision.
- Peeing a lot: Excessive fluids in the blood because of them being pulled out from all tissues leads to frequent urination.
- Being irritable
- Tingling or numbness in your hands or feet
- Wounds that don't heal
- Weight loss: Since glucose is not metabolized, the body utilizes all the other sources of energy from the body such as calories and fat. This leads to weight loss in-spite of over eating.
The symptoms of type 2 diabetes go unnoticed, but the long-term complications of diabetes develop gradually. Some life-threatening complications include:
- Heart and blood vessel disease: Diabetes mellitus increases the risk of coronary artery disease with angina, heart attack, stroke, atherosclerosis, and high blood pressure.
- Neuropathy: High blood sugar injures the walls of the capillaries nourishing the nerves in the legs. Leading to tingling, numbness, or pain that begins at the tip of the toes and spreads upward towards the body. Uncontrolled blood sugar causes erectile dysfunction in men.
- Nephropathy: Diabetes damages the filtering system of the kidneys. This leads to loss of kidney function or kidney failure or irreversible end-stage kidney disease.
- Eye damage: Type 2 diabetes when uncontrolled leads to diabetic retinopathy, thereby leading to blindness. Risk of cataracts and glaucoma also increases.
How is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed by a blood test. An A1C test provides an average of the blood glucose over the past 2 or 3 months. An A1C level of 6.5% or higher indicates the presence of diabetes. Normal levels are below 5.7%. Fasting plasma glucose measures blood sugar on an empty stomach. A fasting blood sugar level less than 100 mg/dL is normal. Sugar level of 126 mg/dL or higher indicates the presence of diabetes. Oral glucose tolerance test checks blood glucose before and 2 hours after a sweet is drunk. Blood sugar level less than 140 mg/dL is normal. A reading of 200 mg/dL or higher after two hours indicates diabetes.
How is Type 2 Diabetes Treated?
Diabetes is a life-long disease and there is no cure for type 2 diabetes. But it can be managed by eating well, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight. Insulin therapy might also be needed in addition to diet and exercising.
Some drugs for diabetes include metformin, sulfonylureas, meglitinides, and rosiglitazone. Insulin therapy is started as one long-acting shot at night. In addition to all these medications, low-dose aspirin therapy and blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering medications also help prevent heart and blood vessel diseases. Finally, type 2 diabetic individuals with a BMI of more than 35 tend to undergo bariatric surgery. This helps in reducing the body weight, thereby the sugar levels.
Stem Cell Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes
Stem cells help the pancreas to regenerate its ability to produce insulin. Repeated application of adipose stem cells is performed for treating type 2 diabetes. The differentiation of stem cells into insulin producing beta cells is the technique involved behind this. The cells are administered by local administration or intravenous administration. Once fused, these cells repopulate in the damaged pancreas and differentiate into lost or damaged beta cells. This in turn helps in the secretion of insulin for breaking the sugars.