Type 2 Diabetes
Worldwide, every minute, three people develop type 2 diabetes. If left unchecked, this disease can lead to serious repercussions such as heart attack, neuropathy, kidney diseases, blindness, among other irreversible conditions and it can be fatal.
Globally, more than 450 million people have diabetes. According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 90 percent of those with diabetes suffer from type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes. Yet, it is estimated that half of the people with type 2 diabetes are unaware that they have the condition.
In Kenya, the prevalence of diabetes is estimated to be at 3.3 per cent in which 85-90 per cent suffer from type 2 diabetes. However, according to the Kenya National Diabetes Strategy report, this figure is based on regional projections and it is likely to be an underestimation because, two thirds of those two thirds of people diagnosed tend to present themselves to healthcare facilities with unrelated complaints, other than diabetes. This means that two thirds of people with diabetes may not know that they suffer from the disease.
Urbanisation has brought about enhancements in living and working conditions. However, adopting new lifestyles and urbanization in working conditions has brought about an environment with the potential of spurning the rise of diabetes numbers. Excessive body weight and sedentary lifestyles have been a growing problem in the country. With a greater body mass index, greater disease burden results. Excessive body weight is a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes.
But all hope is not lost. What matters first is to understand what diabetes is all about and the risk factors, symptoms, treatments and promising interventions to look out for before it goes out of hand.
What is type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes was formally known as adult-onset diabetes because it was common in middle-aged adults over 40. Today, it’s becoming increasingly common in children, teens, and young adults in their 20s.
This disease, is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycaemia; which is known as high blood glucose level. Also, in type 2 diabetes the inability to produce enough insulin occurs, later on in the disease process. If sugary diets were to be consumed, a glucose spike would occur in an individual with type 2 diabetes.
With type 2 diabetes, the body is unable to metabolize glucose. Eventually, high levels of blood sugar start to damage the internal organs of the body. Individuals with type 2 diabetes are still able to produce insulin. However, organs such as the liver, fatty tissues, muscles absorb insulin inefficiently. This stimulates the pancreas to produce more insulin, until the demand is overwhelming. As a result, insulin production decreases, which in turn leads to high blood sugar levels.
What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?
Some of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to type I diabetes. However, type 2 diabetes symptoms often develop slowly over a period of months or even years. This makes it difficult for individuals to recognize any underlying symptoms. Common symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Extreme fatigue
- Blurry vision
- Numbness or tingling sensation of the feet
- Increased thirst and hunger.
- Sudden loss in muscle mass.
- Frequent urination.
What are the causes of type 2 diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the insulin hormone is inefficiently used by cells in the body. Yet, ineffective use of insulin results in the body becoming resistant which in turn causes glucose levels to rise. In advanced type 2 diabetes, damage to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas occurs leading to insufficient insulin production for the body’s needs. Thus, a spike of blood sugar levels occurs.
What are the risk factors of developing type 2 diabetes
- Family history
- Physical inactivity leading to Obesity
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- History of pre-diabetes and secondary forms of diabetes e.g. drug induced diabetes
- Unhealthy diet choices – such as consumption of refined carbs and starchy foods
- Advancing in age especially above 60
How is Type 2 Diabetes diagnosed?
Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed by analysing the results of fasting plasma glucose test, oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), and HBA1C.
Glucometers can also be used to test blood sugar levels. In this case, some blood is drawn and placed in a test strip put on the device. The results seen on the screen are in form of figures. Any figure above ‘7 mml/l’ may indicate diabetes.
Treatments of Type 2 Diabetes
It’s now well established that type 2 diabetes can be reversed by adopting a sustainable lifestyle change. These can be through Bariatric surgery, very low-calorie diet, Intermittent fasting and low carb diet, Keto diet.
The low carb diet involves eating fewer carbohydrates but consuming a higher percentage of healthy fats and protein. Here at our clinic, we have seen patients reverse their diabetes through adopting this diet. For more details, you can reach contact us.
For the very low-calorie diet, studies have shown that the diet has the potential to reverse diabetes and aid in weight loss. The very low-calorie diet has been shown to have an impact on vital organs such as the liver and pancreas in diabetes patients. The diet, drastically reduces fats in these organs which in turn leads to better control of diabetes.
Intermittent fasting involves following an eating pattern that evolves between periods of fasting and eating. It often uses low-carb/calorie meals. It consists of a timetable that indicates to you when to eat meals or skip meals. It has potential to reverse diabetes.
People with type 2 diabetes can also be prescribed medication to support lifestyle changes. For example, the drug metformin is commonly used for people with type II diabetes to assists the body respond to insulin. Several other medications can be used in treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Bariatric surgery involves altering the digestive system to help a person lose weight. It includes a variety of procedures such as gastric bypass and weight loss surgeries. It is done as a final option when diet or exercise have not worked to subside obesity or other health problems like diabetes. In some cases, 30 to 60 per cent of diabetes patients have achieved remission following bariatric surgery.