Type 2 Diabetes, an Epidemic


Chances are nearly 100% that you, or someone you know, has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Depending on how close you are this person, you may or may not know exactly what that means. In today’s post, I am going to go over some of the basics for you.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

It is the most commonly diagnosed type of diabetes. Type 2 usually occurs later in life, meaning the individual wasn’t born with diabetes, although it can be diagnosed at an age anywhere from the teens into much later in life. There are literally millions of people who have diagnosed with type 2, and unfortunately, even more people who are unaware that they are even at risk, let alone a high risk of developing type 2.

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that when we eat food, our bodies break the sugars and starches in that  food down into  glucose. Glucose is the form of energy, or fuel, that  the cells in our body use. After turning the  sugars and starches into glucose, it then released into our bloodstream. Sounds like a good way to distribute it to the cells throughout our bodies right? Sure is! This is where insulin comes in. Insulin’s job is to take the glucose out of our bloodstream and put it into the cells, where it needs to be to be use as  fuel.

In a person  who is type 2, either their body doesn’t make enough insulin or it “ignores” the insulin. Without enough insulin, the glucose builds up in the bloodstream and causes all kinds of problems and symptoms. That’s why you see or hear of diabetics testing their blood sugars. It lets them know how much glucose is in the bloodstream at the time of testing. Some of the signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Loss of consciousness

One of the most common symptoms is fatigue. Makes sense, right? If you’re shaking your head from side to side with a confused look on your face, let me recap for you. Glucose is the energy needed to fuel the cells and keep everything moving along. If it is unable to get into the cells because of a lack of insulin, the cells run out of energy at one point or another and are not efficient. As with any well oiled machine, when one thing stops working as it should, it affects everything on down the line, and our bodies are no different.

Somewhere down the line from one tired cell, is another cell that is trying to now do the work of two cells. It runs out of energy even quicker than it would have just doing it’s own job, and  soon there are two cells not working properly. A third cell on down the line tries to pick up the slack for the other two and continue to do it’s own job, and quickly runs out of energy.  And so on, and so on, and so on. Very quickly, there is a large portion of cells not working properly due to lack of energy.

Our bodies burn less calories and require less energy when they are resting…it makes sense that a person whose cells need energy would begin to feel tired and fatigued and need to rest, therefore requiring less energy, right? A-ha! It’s like a light bulb just went on, huh?

Now  you know a real basic description of what a type 2 diagnosis really means as far as what is happening, or not happening, inside the body. A person who is diagnosed with type 2 will usually receive a list of guidelines from their doctor that include such things as eating a healthy diet, exercising and limiting carbohydrate intake. Oftentimes, the person is referred to a diabetes awareness class which covers some of the basics of living with type 2 in addition to going over some nutritional information that the person can find helpful in managing the type 2. The same things that help a person already diagnosed with type 2 to be able to manage and live with it, are the same things that can you prevent the diagnosis in the first place. Eat the right foods in the right amounts and exercise on a daily, or near daily, basis. Which reminds me of something my son said the other day.

He  came home from school the other day all excited to share something he had learned with me. He started telling me about heart attacks, strokes and (to quote him) “other stuff that’s bad for your heart cause there is this gross yellow stuff that gets stuck in the tubes that go to your heart”. Then he says to me, “But Mom! It’s so cool because my teachers says that if you eat healthy food and exercise  your heart won’t get the gross yellow stuff in its tubes and you don’t have to worry about your heart hurting.” (I’ll have to remind him he said that after his first break up…which better be YEARS down the road!) He continued to go on about some of the other things he had learned that day and then got really quiet, I could tell he was thinking. I said to him, “Hey dude, whatchya thinking about?” My cute little boy (who would die of embarrassment if he knew I had just called him cute on the internet for the whole world to see) turned to me and said, “Is it just me or does eating right and exercising keep coming up as a way to prevent a whole bunch of yucky stuff  from ever  happening to our bodies? Hmm, maybe there’s something to it after all.” I laughed right out loud!  You know, I think he’s right!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *