Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus well known as diabetes is a group of metabolic conditions in which the levels of the blood sugar are high over a prolonged period. Type 2 diabetes is a category of diabetes mellitus in which the body is unable to produce enough insulin leading to increased blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to regulate the amount of sugar in the body, and when it is less produced, the blood sugar goes up. The body derives energy from the glucose or sugar in the bloodstream, and the function of insulin is to let the glucose in the bloodstream into the body cells (King et al 2014). Type two diabetes is a worldwide tragedy considering the number of deaths recorded in the past years due to the disease. The World Health Organization in 2014 estimated the mortality rate of people with diabetes to be at 9%. Out of the people who had diabetes in the past, 90% had type 2 diabetes (King et al 2014). Globally, type 2 diabetes causes 5 million deaths per year, and it is expected by the year 2030 to be the 7th cause of death in the world.

Etiology and risk factors

Insulin is an endocrine hormone that is produced by the pancreas by beta cells, and the hormone is responsible for the regulation of blood glucose or sugar levels. The insulin produced propels glucose into the body cells where it is used to produce energy. Therefore, when the body is not able to respond correctly to the insulin produced, there is a build up in the amount of glucose in the bloodstream leading to hyperglycemia (Pereira, 2014). Hyperglycemic individuals present with various symptoms that suggest the body is unable to utilize energy or glucose present in the blood. Type two diabetes was initially known as insulin resistance diabetes mellitus because the liver, muscle cells, and the body fats do not respond to the insulin produced.

Apart from the major cause discussed above, there are several risk factors associated with the condition. Age is one of the modifiable risk factors whereby the body fails to respond to the hormones produced as a normal aging process.  An estimate of individuals with 80 years and above is provided, and 30% of the individuals have a normal glucose metabolism (Pereira, 2014). Obesity is the second factor whereby the obese individual lives a lifestyle with much energy intake with less physical activity leading to building up of glucose in the body. Gender makes the third risk factor with men being at a higher risk of having type 2 diabetes due to more visceral adipose tissue. Physical activity affects diabetes because it helps in glucose metabolism thus becomes a challenge to those people living sedentary lifestyles. Diet is a factor that has been on the lead in the past years, and various arguments given suggest that intake of food with high caloric value leads to diabetes. Stress is a modifiable risk factor for type two diabetes because it leads to increased levels of cortisol and adrenaline, hormones well known to raise the blood sugar levels (Ford et al 2013

Pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by a combination of increased insulin requirements by the body and reduced insulin secretion from the pancreas. The disease does not occur in people with health insulin secretory capacity. The insulin secretion declines with age explaining the phenomenon of genetic predisposition thus this kind of people suffers from beta cells inactivity rather than insulin sensitivity. For those individuals with less insulin secretion, the body becomes inactive or resistance to low levels of insulin thus the muscles experience a high threshold level for response to the low insulin in the blood leading to the symptoms observed. Hyperglycemia is the first symptom of type two diabetes, and it is attributed to increased production of sugar by the liver and decreased uptake in peripheral tissues as a result of insulin resistance. An increased circulatory level of glucagon is another probable route through which high blood glucose levels get into the bloodstream.

Clinical Manifestations and Complications

Type 2 diabetes symptoms are not commonly recognized by people because they are not adverse. Therefore individuals can stay with the condition for many years without being noticed (American Diabetes Association, 2016). Increased thirst and frequent urination result from a build-up of glucose in the bloodstream. The glucose causes the body to pull fluids from the tissues thus increased thirst. The second symptom is hunger caused by less amount of energy in the body cells. Fatigue follows hunger because the body is deprived the energy required to maintain normal metabolism and body activities. Blurred vision is another symptom noticed because of the fluid pool into the eyes caused by too much glucose in the blood. Slowed wound healing is a long-term effect observed in individuals with type 2 diabetes as a result of glucose pool in the bloodstream. Complications of the disease are seen after a long period and they include eye damage, foot damage, kidney, damage, and heart disease and hearing impairment (Pereira, 2014).


Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed using three main methods. The first one is Glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test. The  AIC test measures the amount of glucose in the body for the past three months, and a level of 6.5% or more for two separate tests indicate diabetes. The second test is a random blood glucose test, and results of 11.0 mmol/L or higher suggests diabetes. The last test is an oral glucose tolerance test, and results of 7.8 mmol/L or less are considered normal while results of 11.0mmol/L indicate diabetes.


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Ford-Martin, P., & Baker, J. (2013). The everything guide to managing type 2 diabetes: From diagnosis to diet, all you need to live a healthy, active life with type 2 diabetes. Avon, Mass: Adams Media.

Pereira, M. A. (2014). Nutrition and type 2 diabetes: Etiology and prevention. Boca Raton: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis.

King, G., & Flippin, R. (2014). The diabetes reset: The revolutionary plan to reverse, control, and avoid Type 2 diabetes.

American Diabetes Association. (2016). Annual review of diabetes 2016: The best of the American Diabetes Association’s scholarly journals. Alexandria, Virginia: American Diabetes Association.