What is Type 2 Diabetes?

How is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed?

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms

Next Steps to Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

 

Nearly 10% of the population is afflicted with diabetes making it among the most common diseases in the U.S. While type 1 diabetes is commonly diagnosed in children, type 2 diabetes is typically diagnosed later in life. It is more common among overweight or obese populations, as well as individuals over the age of 45. The illness is chronic meaning that while it can be controlled through medication and lifestyle, it cannot be cured. Although many people do indeed continue to lead fulfilling, active lives following a diagnosis, disease management is indeed essential as diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S [1]. The serious nature of the disease, combined with its overwhelming prevalence, has led it to become a critical focus for physicians, especially age management specialists.

While addressing the type 2 diabetes epidemic may seem like a monumental feat given the above statistics, there is in fact some good news. People almost always have prediabetes before developing type 2 diabetes, and while more than 84 million American adults (or roughly one in three) have prediabetes, the condition can be reversed [2]. Moreover, for individuals who already have received a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, the medical advancements and resources available today have made disease management more effective than ever.

As the nation’s leader in age management medicine, Cenegenics is committed to helping adults lower their disease risk and achieve optimal health. Here, our clinicians provide an in-depth look into this common disease including how thorough and accurate health care can help you lower risk or manage your condition more effectively. We will begin with a brief overview of type 2 diabetes to help you develop an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms behind the disease.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?


Type 2 diabetes goes beyond just understanding blood sugar levels, Insulin resistance and glucose play a large role in type 2 diabetes

Despite its commonality, few people understand the specific characteristics of type 2 diabetes, including its causative agents. While most people understand that the condition involves blood sugar, there is a more complex interplay among food sources and the body’s functions than you may realize. Learning about the roles of insulin, glucose, and the pancreas can help you better understand what truly causes type 2 diabetes to develop.

What is Glucose? 

Glucose is a sugar which serves as an energy source for cells that make up the muscles and other types of tissues. It is produced by the liver and is also found in the food we eat and is absorbed into the bloodstream with the assistance of insulin. When glucose levels dip too low, the liver will transform stored glycogen into glucose to keep the levels within normal range. However, in people with type 2 diabetes, this process does not work as it should because the cells have developed a resistance to insulin.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is a key player in both diabetes and metabolic syndrome (we will cover more on that condition later). It is a hormone, which is produced by the pancreas, and it is responsible for controlling the amount of glucose within your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, this naturally causes the level of insulin secreted from the pancreas to drop as well.

Problems begin to arise when cells become insulin resistant. While the precise cause for insulin resistance remains unknown, it is suspected that genetics and environmental factors, including being overweight, are contributing factors. Insulin resistance prevents cells from being able to use insulin effectively, leaving blood sugar levels higher than they should be. As a result, the pancreas produces more insulin to reduce blood sugar. This can ultimately leave the pancreas depleted of insulin-producing cells, which is a trend commonly observed in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Metabolic Syndrome 

Oftentimes, you will hear diabetes discussed in conjunction with metabolic syndrome. While the two are linked, they are not the same. Metabolic syndrome refers to a cluster of conditions, such as high blood pressure and abdominal obesity, which places an individual at higher risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. On their own, conditions such as high blood pressure are serious, but when experienced in combination with the other factors that make up metabolic syndrome, they increase disease risk even more.

It is estimated that nearly a quarter of all Americans have metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by three or more of the following metrics:

  • Systolic blood pressure of 130 mm HG or greater, or diastolic blood pressure of 85 mm HG or greater
  • HDL cholesterol of less than 40 mg/dL in men or less than 50 mg/dL in women
  • Triglyceride level of 150 mg/ dL of blood or greater
  • Waist circumference of greater than 40 inches for men, or 35 inches for women
  • Fasting blood sugar of 100 mg/dL or greater [3]

To put it into perspective, a fasting blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes, which is one reason why individuals with this indicator of metabolic syndrome are also at a greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

How is Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosed? 


The A1C blood test is the best-known method for testing diabetic risk factors

The National Institutes of Health recommends all individuals age 45 or older, as well as younger adults who are overweight, obese, or have other diabetes risk factors, be tested for type 2 diabetes on a routine basis, such as every year. While the A1C blood test is perhaps the best-known method for testing, it only measures average levels of blood sugar over the last three months. An emerging test is the HOMA2-IR test, which measures the actual levels of insulin resistance and is also used to identify metabolic syndrome. In studies, the test has been found to be a more effective predictor of diabetes and can actually evaluate functionality of cells in the pancreas [4]. All Cenegenics patients’ lab work includes this measurement. While it is not the only basis on which a prediabetes or type 2 diabetes diagnosis is made, it is valuable when included into a number of diagnostics reviewed by our clinicians.

Type 2 Diabetes Symptoms


blurred vision and headaches are a common symptom of hyperglycemia, Type 2 diabetes symptoms are vast and often difficult to recognize

Type 2 diabetes develops gradually. In the disease’s early stages, symptoms can be mild and difficult to recognize, which may partially account for the prevalence of undiagnosed cases; in 2015, an estimated 7.2 million people were found to have the disease but had gone undiagnosed [5]. Nonetheless, some patients do experience the following symptoms:

  • Frequent Urination: Excess glucose spurs the kidneys to flush it out of the blood resulting in more urine production and the need to urinate more often. This also doubles the risk of urinary tract infections in people with type 2 diabetes [6].
  • Increased Thirst: With increased urination, you will also begin to feel dehydrated. Dry mouth and intense feelings of thirst could be signs of type 2 diabetes.
  • Feeling Very Hungry: Insulin resistance causes the body to create more insulin which sends signals to the brain that you are hungry.
  • Exhaustion: When the cells are starved of sugar, you may find yourself experiencing fatigue.
  • Delayed Healing of Sores: Type 2 diabetes impedes your body’s ability to heal and fight off infections so, in addition to delayed healing, patients may experience frequent infections.
  • Unexplained Weight Loss: Without the ability to provide enough glucose for your cells, you may begin to lose weight. This can also result from lost water weight caused by frequent urination.
  • Blurred Vision: Rapid changes in blood sugar are associated with blurred vision, but once the disease is controlled, this symptom (as with many others on this list) should go away.

While there may be additional side effects in either the early phases of disease development or after it has been diagnosed, this list represents some of the most common initial indicators.

Recognizing Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes – In Conclusion


Type 2 diabetes develops gradually and the symptoms are often hard to recognize. In 2015, an estimated 7.2 million people with diabetes had gone undiagnosed. But it still remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

People almost always present as prediabetic before progressing to type 2 diabetes; a surprising statistic considering that prediabetes is reversible. Cenegenics is committed to helping adults lower their risk of disease and achieve optimal health. Our physicians provide an in-depth look into this common disease, recognizing that symptoms such as frequent urination, increased thirst, delayed healing of sore, unexplained weight loss and blurred vision are not simply symptoms of aging.

Next Steps to Understanding Type 2 Diabetes


Register for your complimentary phone consultation.

 

We hope the information above assisted you in your research process.

Key Resources on Type 2 Diabetes 


This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:

 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation

 

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Available for purchase here

 

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Available for purchase here

 

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Education Foundation.

 

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

Additional Information about Cenegenics and Treating Type 2 Diabetes


What is Cenegenics?

Anti-Aging vs. Age Management

What is Age Management Medicine?

Defy Your Age with Cenegenics

The Dangers of Processed Foods

How Weight Loss on the Cenegenics Program Differs from Your Typical Weight Loss Program

Nutrition for Weight Loss

Weight Loss: Role of Exercise

Sources on Type 2 Diabetes 


[1] Statistics About Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. 22 March 2018. Retrieved from URL: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/

[2] “Did you know type 2 diabetes can be prevented?” CDC. Retrieved from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/takethetest/

[3] Statistics About Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. 22 March 2018. Retrieved from URL: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/

[4] “Did you know type 2 diabetes can be prevented?” CDC. Retrieved from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/takethetest/

[5] Statistics About Diabetes, see above.

[6] Masters, Maria. “7 Warning Signs of Type 2 Diabetes.” Everyday Health. Retrieved from URL: https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/symptoms/warning-signs-of-type-2-diabetes/#increased-thirst-or-a-dry-mouth-may-signal-diabetes

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