Understanding Type 2 Diabetes
on May 1st, 2012 in Body, Education | No Comments
Diabetes is on the rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, nearly 26 million Americans are diabetic with an estimated 79 million with per-diabetes. Several studies have been conducted to determine the reason for the epidemic. Most studies suggest that there are a few distinct factors that contribute to developing diabetes:
- Overweight: People who are overweight are at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes because additional fatty tissue increases the the chances of resistance to insulin.
- Age: The risk seems to rise as we get older. This can be attributed to weight gain with age or less cell functionality.
- Stress: The body does not often respond well to stress. One result of stress can be weight gain, which can raise the risk of stress.
- Lack of exercise: Studies have shown that a regular exercise regime can help prevent exercise. Conversely, a lack of exercise can increase type 2 diabetes due to an increase of weight and unhealthy lifestyle.
- Family history: A history of type 2 diabetes can increase the risk of diabetes substantially. Diabetes is not predetermined by genes, but a person with a family history has a predisposition to the disease. People with a family history should monitor their diet and exercise regularly.
More studies are being done to determine other contributing factors to diabetes. As a matter of fact, a Swedish study revealed a link between people 70+, type 2 diabetes and phthalates. Phthalates is a chemical found in plastics such as water bottles, and is also found in cosmetics and scented candles.There have been previous studies conducted on the affects of phthalates, which mainly focused on the effects on reproductive health and child development due to the chemicals disruption to endocrine in the body. However, this new study reveals participants who were 70+ in age, and who had higher levels of phthalates were at a greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But, it is important to point out that the study showed only a association, and not a direct correlation between the two. Nevertheless, the risk factors in bullets above are still the most compelling. With the numbers released by the CDC, it is more important than ever to live a healthy lifestyle.
What is Diabetes?
There are three types of diabetes. The first is type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes affects mostly younger people, but can occur at any age. In type 1 diabetes, the body makes little to no insulin. Daily insulin shots are required for this type of diabetes. The second type is gastrointestinal diabetes which affects pregnant women who are not diabetic. Unlike other forms of diabetes that are considered chronic, this form of diabetes should disappear after delivery. The third type of diabetes is type 2. Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes and is growing at rapid rates. Type 2 diabetes is the excess of glucose (sugar) in the blood stream and insulin resistance. To understand type 2 diabetes, a understanding of how the body breaks down sugar is necessary. The body should break down carbohydrates into sugar when consumed. However, glucose can not enter any cells without the assistance of insulin which is produced by the pancreas. Insulin unlocks the cells so that glucose can enter. But when a person who has type 2 diabetes, either the pancreas does not produce the necessary insulin or the cells become insulin resistant. Sugar will then begin to build in the blood which we know as hyperglycemia or high blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to several serious issues:
- Kidney failure
- Cardiovascular disease
- Nerve damage
- Limb amputations due to poor circulation and infections
- Slowing of the healing process
- Loss of vision
What are the symptoms for Diabetes?
- Excessive thirst and urination: Excess sugar in the blood stream will increase thirst due to fluids pulled from tissues. The additional thirst will lead to increase in fluid consumption which leads to more excretion of fluid.
- Numbness and tingling: Diabetes can decrease circulation which can lead to neuropathy.
- Blurred vision: Excessive sugar can pulled fluid from the the eyes affecting the ability to focus.
- Frequent infections
- Slow healing: This is linked to insulin resistance which slows the healing process.
- Gum disease: Gum disease can cause inflammation of the gums. This is especially an issue with seniors adults. Mouth infections should be monitored for this age group.
- Lethargy: When sugar is not used properly the body will feel it. Sugar to the body is like batteries to a remote. Once the batteries get low, the remote does not function properly. The body uses sugar in the same way. The body will become lethargic without its energy.
- Weight loss or gain
Regular exercise plays a key role in minimizing the risk of diabetes. Having a regular exercise regimen consisting of a workout four days a week would be a good start. Exercising could help keep you at a healthy weight. In addition, eating healthier could also decrease your risk. Seniors, especially, are at a higher risk of having serious complications from type 2 diabetes. Seniors who are diabetic and are on a low fixed income have an even greater challenge because of the need to pay for several medications that should be taken daily. Seniors may need additional assistance with those medications, which is where Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Dunwoody, Ga could assist, but this could be a challenge for those who can not afford assistance. Although, this may be a challenge for a senior living in Dunwoody, Ga on a fixed income, Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Dunwoody, GA. could certainly help. We of course help our residents in our community monitor the disease. Diabetes can be tough to manage, but with a conscious effort one could certainly do so. If you or someone you know needs assistance, call Dogwood Forest Assisted Living in Dunwoody, Ga because we consider ourselves educators and a resource for senior care.